ENGLAND fly-half Katy McLean has earned a place in the New Year’s Honours list for services to women’s rugby.
The 28-year-old is a primary school teacher but has taken a sabbatical from her job with reception children at Bexhill Academy in Town End Farm, Sunderland, to get ready for the Women’s Rugby World Cup, taking place in August, in France.
Katy, from South Shields, said it was “a massive shock”, and she has no idea who nominated her for the MBE.
Katy made her England debut in 2007 and has gone on to win 64 caps and captain the side, most recently against France at Twickenham last month.
She also captains her club, Darlington Mowden Park Sharks, who are currently fifth in the RFUW Premiership.
Katy said: “When I received my letter, and even now, I wasn’t really sure it was actually happening, but it is amazing. I never thought in my career I would get something like this.”
She revealed how she almost didn’t get the honour – after the letter asking whether she wished to accept it or not was sent to her club’s former ground.
“It was a really manic situation,” she said. “My letter went out to my club side’s old ground, Yiewsley Drive, which is a housing estate now – it doesn’t exist.
“Fortunately, it got redirected to our new ground and ended up in the hands of one of the guys who works there, who forwarded it on to me.
“I have no idea who nominated me, but we left the ground in April this year.”
Katy said 2014 is set to be “a massive year” for her with the World Cup.
“That is our big focus,” she said. “Previous results haven’t gone our way.”
She added that her MBE is testament to the growing popularity of women’s rugby and the support she has received from family and friends.