Former Sale Sharks and England wing Mark Cueto has been awarded an MBE in the New Year Honours list for his services to the game.
The 36-year-old, who is now an ambassador at the Premiership side, admitted he got a big surprise when he learnt of the news.
"It feels great but it's been a bit of a shock. I found out about three weeks ago, and just couldn't believe it," he said.
"There's quite a few lads in rugby who've got MBEs/OBEs and Sir Clive with his knighthood all on the back of the 2003 World Cup win and when you look at those guys, I never expected to get anything like this, it was just mad when I got the phone call."
He continued: "My agent got a call. The guy didn't say what he was ringing about, and just said he was from the Cabinet Office and my agent panicked and thought it was going to be a tax related issue! Thankfully it wasn't! I got his details, and gave him a ring and he asked if I wanted to accept it and just said it would be announced on New Years Eve and then I would be sent a letter with dates on it to go to Buckingham Palace to accept it. It should be really good.
"I was nominated because of services to rugby. I've got so much out of the game, and even now seven months after retiring to still receive something from the game and something like this is just brilliant."