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England duo thank their families

Two of the England team who won the women's rugby World Cup received MBEs in the New Year Honours.

Sarah Hunter, the vice-captain and number eight, and prop Rochelle Clark - who is England's second-most-capped player with 95 appearances - both paid tribute to their families and supporters.

Hunter, who also captained England during the Six Nations championships, said: "It's a massive honour to be recognised in this way. As a team we have enjoyed incredible success and I'm so proud to be a part of that.

"This is for everyone who has been involved in my journey along the way - from when I started playing at the age of nine all the way through to winning the World Cup this summer.

"It's the medics who get you onto the pitch, my family who have been incredible throughout and of course all of the players and coaches. It's a real team effort and it's been a massive whirlwind since we won the World Cup - it hasn't sunk in yet and to have this award on top is surreal. It's such an honour."

Clark said she would never have envisaged receiving such an honour when she began her England career.

She said: "I feel hugely honoured and proud to receive this award and would like to thank my family, and in particular my mum for driving me around, my friends and all the coaches along the way for supporting me. And a special mention to [England women's forwards coach] Graham Smith for making me the player I am today.

"If you had asked me in 2003 - when I got my first cap - if I would become a world champion and receive an MBE I wouldn't have believed it, but 11 years on it's all happened at once. What a year 2014 has been and I still feel I have lots to give on and off the field."

England beat Canada 21-9 in Paris in August to win the World Cup for the first time since 1994 after three final defeats.


From Belfast Telegraph