IRB Hall of Fame welcomes 15 new inductees

"It is particularly pleasing to be able to induct the first women into the IRB Hall of Fame."
  • First women among the legends honoured
  • Nine greats from men’s game also named
  • Winners of Spirit of Rugby and IRB Development awards also announced

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.”

CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE INDUCTEES

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 Gonçalves Jentzscg.

In addition, the IRB Development Award 2014 has been presented to Bidzina Ivanishvili who, through his vision and generosity, has made enormous progress in developing Georgia into a rugby country of formidable strength.

Ivanishvili's charity fund ‘Cartu’ has financed several rugby projects in Georgia since 2008, including building two rugby stadia, state-of-the-art training facilities in cities and schools all over the country, partial funding of training and tournament costs for Georgia’s national teams and support of various development programmes.

About the IRB Hall of Fame
The IRB Hall of Fame was launched in 2006 with the induction of Rugby School and William Webb Ellis. Since then the following legends have been inducted: Baron Pierre de Coubertin, Danie Craven, Wilson Whineray, Gareth Edwards, John Eales, The 1888 Natives Team and Joseph Warbrick, Ned Haig and the Melrose club, Jack Kyle, Philippe Sella, Hugo Porta, William Maclagan, Barry Heatlie, Bennie Osler, Cliff Morgan, Tony O’Reilly, Frik du Preez, Syd Millar, Willie John McBride, Ian McGeechan, Jean Prat, Lucien Mias, Andre and Guy Boniface, Serge Blanco, Harry Vassall and Alan Rotherham, Cardiff RFC and Frank Hancock, David Gallaher, Barbarian FC and WP Carpmael, Mike Gibson, Roger Vanderfield, Richard Littlejohn, Nicholas Shehadie, John Kendall-Carpenter, David Kirk, Brian Lochore, Nick Farr-Jones, Bob Dwyer, Francois Pienaar, Kitch Christie, Rod Macqueen, Gareth Rees, Clive Woodward, Jonah Lomu, Jake White, Brian Lima, Agustín Pichot, Martin Johnson, John Smit, Gordon Tietjens, Ian and Donald Campbell, Yoshihiro Sakata, the 1924 Romanian Olympic Team, the gold medal-winning USA Olympic Team of 1920 and 1924, Richard and Kennedy Tsimba, Alfred St George Hamersley, Vladimir Ilyushin, Waisale Serevi, Thomas Lawton, John Thornett, Ken Catchpole, Mark Ella, David Campese, George Gregan, Robert Seddon and the 1888 British team, David Bedell-Sivright, Bleddyn Williams, Jack Matthews, Ronnie Dawson, Gavin Hastings, Fred Allen, Don Clarke, Grant Fox, Sean Fitzpatrick, Michael Jones, Ian Kirkpatrick, John Kirwan, Terry McLean, Colin Meads, Graham Mourie and George Nepia.