JPR Williams, Jason Leonard and Michael Lynagh are among the 15 newest inductees to the International Rugby Board’s Hall of Fame.
Fifteen legends of men’s and women’s rugby have been inducted into the IRB Hall of Fame at a special ceremony in London on Monday, midway through the World Rugby Conference and Exhibition.
This latest inductions include the first women to enter the Hall of Fame as well as some greats of the men’s game.
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).
Four of the six females inducted are Women’s Rugby World Cup winners from Jervey at the inaugural tournament in 1991 to Richards winning a fourth title in a row with the Black Ferns in 2010, while Amiel coached France to third place at the 2014 edition on home soil in August.
IRB Chairman Bernard Lapasset, who joined IRB Hall of Fame secretary Chris Thau in presenting the caps and pins to the new inductees, said: “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.”
“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.
“And the men’s inductions include some of the biggest names in our sport over the past 40 years and all have contributed immensely to the enjoyment we have all felt watching top-level rugby over the decades. Each of these 15 inductees is a true great in his and her own right and has made a positive impression on the sport that will last the test of time.”
Meanwhile, the IRB has announced that the Spirit of Rugby Award 2014 has been won by the VOR Vivendo O Rugby project in Brazil, which has been using rugby to make a real difference to the lives of thousands of Brazilian people in need.
Through the power of sport, VOR aims to create citizens, not athletes. By encouraging good sports practice, by uniting the foundations of school education with the values of rugby and by ensuring children use their free time to play the game VOR is helping to make Brazil and the world a better place. The award was accepted by Prof. Wanderleia Gon