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Welsh rugby star Elli Norkett killed in car crash at age 20

The family of a Welsh rugby international killed in a car crash have paid tribute to her as "loved and valued by many".

Elli Norkett, 20, sustained fatal injuries in the collision in Neath Port Talbot, south Wales, at 7.40pm on Saturday.

Miss Norkett, from Llandarcy, Neath, was the youngest player in the Rugby World Cup in 2013.

She was driving a Toyota Yaris which was involved in a collision with a Vauxhall Insignia on the A4109, Inter Valley Road, between Banwen and Glynneath.

A 42-year-old woman driving the Vauxhall and a 12-year-old girl who was a passenger were taken to hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

Miss Norkett's family released a tribute to her through South Wales Police.

"Elli Norkett was a kind-hearted and caring 20-year-old final year student at Cardiff Met University, studying sport development," they said.

"In 2013 she was the youngest player in the Rugby World Cup and had gained four Welsh senior caps at the age of 17.

"Elli also represented Wales at Sevens and was selected for the Great Britain Students Sevens.

"On the club front she was proud to represent Swansea Ladies and the Ospreys. At Cardiff Met she played in two BUCS finals at Twickenham and wanted to pursue a career in coaching the game she loved.

"Elli was loved and valued by many and has touched the hearts of all her family and friends due to her kind nature and endearing personality.

"The family wish to be allowed to grief in peace at this extremely distressing time."

South Wales Police is investigating the circumstances of the collision.

The force is asking anyone who witnessed the collision, or the manner of driving of either of the vehicles involved prior to the collision to contact the Western Roads Policing Unit, via 101, quoting reference 1700073461.

In a statement, the Ospreys said the club was "deeply saddened" by Miss Norkett's death.

"A proud Osprey, rugby was her life and she was immensely proud to represent Swansea Ladies, Ospreys Women, Wales Women and Wales Sevens, as well as Cardiff Met University and Great Britain Students Sevens," it said.

"At just 20-years old, she had her whole life in front of her. Not only was she a talented rugby player she was a good human being, probably the most important thing about her.

"As an Ospreys in the Community coach, who as recently as last week was working with us as part of the team leading our half-term kids camps at Llandarcy Academy of Sport, she was also a role model to the next generation, an inspiration to boys and girls of all ages who enjoyed being instructed by an Osprey and a Welsh international.

"Her greatest legacy will be in those youngsters who continue to enjoy the game of rugby having been fortunate enough to be coached by her on one of our camps.

"The thoughts of everybody at Ospreys Rugby are with the family and friends of Elli at this sad time."

A spokesman for the Welsh Rugby Union said: "We are deeply saddened to hear the tragic news about Elli Norkett.

"A talented, dedicated player and popular team-mate, Elli was a treasured member of the Welsh rugby family. Our thoughts are with her family and friends at this difficult time."

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