England Rugby 2015 Ambassador Maggie Alphonsi, one of the stars of Women’s Rugby World Cup 2010, was a guest at Buckingham Palace on Wednesday to collect an MBE from the Queen.
Capped 63 times by England, the 28-year-old flanker is one of the most recognisable faces in the Women’s Game and will play a key role in ensuring that Rugby World Cup 2015 delivers on its promise to reach new fans and create a lasting legacy for the sport in England.
Alphonsi won her first cap for England against the USA in 2003 and subsequently played at two Women’s Rugby World Cups, the second on home soil. Despite losing out to New Zealand in the final, she emerged as the face of the tournament and was subsequently selected as the first female winner of the Rugby Union Writers’ Club’s prestigious Pat Marshall award.
Having continued to set a fine example for the sport, she was honoured for services to rugby in the Queen’s 2012 Birthday Honours list.
“Today is a very exciting day,” she said. “I cannot actually believe I am going to Buckingham Palace to receive this award. It will certainly be a day both my mum and I will cherish forever.
“What makes this honour so special is that it does not just recognise my own personal achievements but that of the England team – I wouldn’t have received this had it not been for the hard work and dedication of the RFU and my England teammates.”