Six female rugby stars have become the first ever to be inducted into the IRB Hall of Fame, alongside nine greats from the men’s game.
A special ceremony to announce the fifteen names from men’s and women’s rugby was held in London on Monday as part of the World Rugby Conference and Exhibition.
Former captain and 1994 Women’s Rugby World Cup winner, Gill Burns, joins fellow English player Carol Isherwood, who recently received the IRB Women’s Personality of the year award in 2008, as two of the female athletes to be honoured.
The four other players joining Burns and Isherwood include, New Zealand’s Farah Palmer and four-time world cup winner Anna Richards; as well as French coach Nathalie Amiel and Patty Jervey from the United States.
“The IRB Hall of Fame recognises those who have made an indelible mark on our sport through feats on the field of play, displays of great character or through their tireless and inspirational work in driving forward our great game,” said IRB Chairman Bernard Lapasset.
“It is particularly pleasing to be able to induct the first women into the IRB Hall of Fame. These six were wonderful players and, in many ways, trail-blazers for the women’s game in their countries and around the world.”
“We saw the success of the Women’s Rugby World Cup this year in France and it is doubtful that would have been possible if not for the pioneering spirit of those great players and personalities that went before.”
The new inductions are: Nathalie Amiel (France), Gill Burns (England), Patty Jervey (USA), Carol Isherwood (England), Anna Richards (New Zealand), Farah Palmer (New Zealand), Keith Rowlands (Wales), Jim Greenwood (Scotland), JPR Williams (Wales), Michael Lynagh (Australia), Jo Maso (France), Keith Wood (Ireland), Ieuan Evans (Wales), Jason Leonard (England) and Bill Beaumont (England).
The Hall of Fame was launched in 2006 by IRB to acknowledge those who have made a significant contribution to the sport of rugby.