- Katy “shocked” to receive MBE for services to rugby in New Year's Honours List
- Award “for all people who've helped me and those who have brought women's game forward”
Photo: Getty Images
England's Katy Mclean has received an MBE in the New Year’s Honours List for services to rugby.
The 28 year-old fly half from South Shields has won 64 caps while combining her playing career with teaching in the North East.
She is the second current England Women’s player to be honoured after flanker Maggie Alphonsi, who received an MBE in the 2012 Queen’s Birthday Honours.
The honour arrived in an unusual fashion, though. The letter asking whether Mclean wished to accept the award was sent to the former ground of her club side Darlington Mowden Park Sharks.
Marked “On Her Majesty’s Service”, it triggered concerns it might be a court order until it was successfully redirected.
“I’m absolutely shocked to receive an MBE and it’s not something I ever expected I’d get,” said Mclean.
“I’ve had an amazing rugby career but you don’t ever think of anything like this happening to you.
“It’s a huge honour and it’s for all the people who have helped me and for all those who’ve worked so hard to bring the women’s game forward. They deserve a massive thank you.”
Photo: Getty Images
Mclean watched dad David in action for Westoe, then played there until the age of 12, returning to the game as an 18 year-old and progressing through England’s age group sides while playing for Darlington Mowden Park.
She cites several coaches as key influences in her development - Stewart Reader at Mowbray Junior School, Jo Hull at Thirsk and Darlington Mowden Park, and the current England Women's Head Coach Gary Street.
Since 2010 she has combined club and international rugby with teaching Reception age children at Bexhill Academy in Sunderland and will take time off in 2014 to prepare for the Women’s Rugby World Cup in France next August.
She said: “The school’s been really supportive and I owe a great deal to Katrina Smith, the other Reception teacher. I couldn’t do what I do without their support.”
Career highlights since Mclean made her debut in 2007 include playing in the 2010 Women’s Rugby World Cup final, beating New Zealand at Twickenham and facing the Black Ferns at Eden Park in Auckland this summer.
England meet for a training camp early in the new year at Loughborough University to prepare for the Six Nations, which begins with a clash against France in Grenoble on February 1.
“The start of a World Cup year is a big focus now,” said Mclean. “England are back and January to August is about building for that.”