THE SOUTH Shields rugby star who went on to captain England to World Cup success is glowing with pride after picking up an award at the BBC Sports Personality of the Year.
Katy McLean accepted the Team of the Year award on behalf of the England women’s rugby team at the event last night.
Katy started playing rugby though to her father, David, who played for Westoe Rugby Club in South Shields, her home town.
The 29-year-old, who is team captain, left her job at Bexhill Academy in Town End Farm, Sunderland, earlier this year to take up a professional contract to become a full-time professional on the pitch.
The World Cup winners took the BBC honour ahead of Europe’s Ryder Cup golfers, the GB & Northern Ireland athletics squad and the Mercedes F1 team.
England beat Canada 21-9 in Paris to win the World Cup for the first time since 1994 after three final defeats.
“This is a massive turning point for women’s sport,” said Katy.
“I would like to thank the Rugby Football Union and Sport England and our friends and family and to everybody at home.”
“Also to the ex-players who have battled to win England the World Cup. This is just as much to you as it is to us.
“This is for you guys.”
Many of the England players returned to full-time jobs following the win.
It was later announced that the England Women’s Sevens squad would be turning professional, with the Rugby Football Union giving full-time contracts to 20 players.