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Page last updated at 00:48 GMT, Monday, 30 November 2009

Profile: Louise Rickard

Winner announcement: BBC Wales Today Date: Monday, 7 December, BBC ONE Wales, 1830-1900 GMT
Full award programme: Tuesday, 8 December, BBC ONE Wales, 2235-2335 GMT

In 2009 Louise Rickard proved there is life approaching 40 - the Wales Women's wing won her 109th international cap for her country during the year.

Louise Rickard
Rickard's dedication and enthusiasm for the sport has never dimmed

In the process Rickard, 38, helped Wales Women to the most successful season in their history in Europe.

They claimed a first win in their history over England, a nail-biting 16-15 victory at Taffs Well, having already beaten Scotland and Ireland on the way to their first Triple Crown.

For Warrington-born Rickard, however, the year was also hugely significant as she bettered the 103-cap mark set by ex-Wales captain Gareth Thomas in the men's game, whose tally included three British and Irish Lions appearances.

The wing also remains the most capped player in the history of Women's rugby, having made her 109th Wales appearance while scoring a try in their 56-7 win over Sweden Women at St Helen's on November 28.

Rickard won her record 104th cap in Wales' 31-10 win over Scotland in the 2009 Six Nations.

But she had a 16-year wait after making her 1993 debut against England before playing on the winning side.

Since that Canada Cup tournament Rickard has scored more than 30 Test tries in an outstanding career.

Rickard now plays for local team Woodbridge Amazons in Suffolk, East Anglia, while the biology and physical education teacher is also a keen hockey player.

Her dedication and enthusiasm for the sport has never dimmed and she has been a role model for two generations of aspiring players.

Rickard has now set her sights on being part of Wales' challenge at the 2010 World Cup in England.

Wales have been handed an extremely tough draw for the two-week tournament, which will be held in London from 20 August to 5 September.

Holders and favourites New Zealand, plus rival southern hemisphere powers Australia and South Africa await Rickard and her Wales team-mates in the pool stages.

see also
BBC Wales Sports Personality 2009
05 Dec 09 |  Wales
Profile: Becky Brewerton
30 Nov 09 |  Wales
Profile: Nathan Cleverly
30 Nov 09 |  Wales
Profile: Ryan Giggs
30 Nov 09 |  Wales
Profile: Jamie Roberts
30 Nov 09 |  Wales
Profile: Geraint Thomas
30 Nov 09 |  Wales
Wales claim Women's Triple Crown
21 Mar 09 |  Welsh
Wales Women 56-7 Sweden Women
28 Nov 09 |  Welsh

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