Willow blog

Rugby Heroes Awarded

October 7, 2014

Britain’s rugby heroes were recognised at Willow’s first Rugby Legends Awards this October.  The London event, hosted by England and British Lions lock, Martin Bayfield and renowned broadcaster, John Inverdale, was a huge success raising £66,000 on the night.

Gareth Edwards accepted the award for Outstanding Contribution to Rugby, as one of only a small group of players to have won three Grand Slams. 

In the presence of guests and a host of fellow rugby legends, Edwards took part in a Q&A session about his career, his achievements and those who influenced his decisions.  These included awards to those who played a key part in Edwards’ career achievements, and who also took part in the lively Q&A:

Clive Rowlands (former Welsh captain, scrum half & Gareth’s coach) – an inspiration and childhood hero of Edwards.

Barry John (the1971 first series victory in New Zealand for the Lions) and Phil Bennett (the unbeaten 1974 side in South Africa and ‘that try’ for the barbarians against the All blacks in 1973) – both moments played a big part in Edwards’ career.

Judged by an independent panel of former players and sports media, the awards recognised legendary achievements in British rugby.  Judges include: Ali Eykyn (BT Sport); Danny Grewcock MBE; Simon Halliday; Jason Leonard OBE, Lee Mears; Budge Rogers OBE; David Rogers (Getty Images); Paul Ridley (Paul Ridley Sports PR); Owen Slot (The Times); Mike Wedderburn (BSkyB) and David White (CEO, Willow).

The other awards announced on the night were:

Player of the Year Award

WINNER: Mike Brown (Harlequins)

Special Merit Award

Recognises an individual who has played a major role in rugby and whose name has become synonymous with the sport.

WINNER: Andy Ripley OBE (England & British Lions)

In light of the recent success at the Women’s Rugby World Cup a special Outstanding Achievement Award was presented to the Women’s team –Maggie Alphonsi and Katy McLean accepted the award on behalf of the team, presented by Catherine Spencer.

Players (past & present) who attended: Maggie Alphonsi; Gareth Edwards; Andy Gomarsall; John Dawes OBE; Katy McLean;  Lee Mears; Clive Rowlands; Mickey Skinner; Catherine Spencer; Rory Underwood MBE; Phil Bennett; James Haskell; Barry John; Willie John McBride; Budge Rogers; Paul Ackford and Peter Winterbottom.