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Last Updated: Wednesday, 31 December, 2003, 00:11 GMT
Rugby stars sweep honours
England's victory was watched by 12.7m TV viewers
England's Rugby World Cup winners dominated the New Year Honours list with all 35 members rewarded for their efforts down under.

Coach Clive Woodward joined an elite group of sporting knights, captain Martin Johnson became a CBE and fly-half Jonny Wilkinson was promoted to OBE.

The remaining members of England's squad - along with kicking coach Dave Alred, defensive coach Phil Larder and fitness coach Dave Reddin - were recognised with MBEs.

Record-breaking prop Jason Leonard and assistant coach Andy Robinson both became OBEs.

Britain's top tennis player, Tim Henman, and Celtic manager Martin O'Neill became OBEs, while Gloucestershire cricket captain Mark Alleyne was appointed an MBE.

However it was rugby union which swept the board, taking 38 of the 59 sporting awards on the annual list.

Woodward dedicated his award to his players and colleagues, saying: "I am honoured and delighted to receive a knighthood."

Mark Alleyne
Gloucestershire skipper Mark Alleyne
Francis Baron, chief executive of the Rugby Football Union, who also received an OBE, led the tributes saying: "Clive and his squad have produced an outstanding end to the calendar year for English rugby."

Henman's OBE had been widely expected following a leak of Government documents.

The tennis star, who had his biggest career success so far in November at the Paris Masters, said: "I was pretty disappointed with the way the story came out.

"But I will go to receive the honour with a massive amount of pride. I am extremely honoured."

Celtic manager O'Neill was rewarded after guiding the Glasgow giants to the Uefa Cup final last season, where they were beaten by Porto, and for a successful career as both a player and manager.

Clive Woodward
England coach Clive Woodward

"This recognition belongs to all those who have made a vital contribution to Celtic's success and I am honoured to accept it on their behalf," he said.

Alleyne has led Gloucestershire to five one-day titles within two years during his time as skipper.

He said: "We had a vision for the club, to be one of the premier teams in England and if we look back at what we have achieved it has been outstanding and I am really proud of that."

Swimmers James Gibson and Katy Sexton both received MBEs for their success at the World Championships in Barcelona during the summer.

Sexton, 18, became the first British woman to win a gold at the championships in Barcelona when she triumphed in the 200m backstroke - she also won silver in the 100m event.

While Gibson, 22, was victorious in the 50m breaststroke and won bronze in the 100m.

Former boxer Michael Watson, who completed a memorable London Marathon back in April, won an MBE for services to disabled sport.

Former Olympic javelin gold medallist Tessa Sanderson was awarded a CBE for her work as vice-chairman of Sport England.

David Humphreys
Ireland's most capped fly-half David Humphreys

Some felt the award was a snub for former chairman Trevor Brooking, who has not received any recognition for his eight years at Sport England and is the only person who has headed the organisation not to be knighted.

The former England footballer had been fiercely critical of the Government's funding of sport.

Sir Rodney Walker, formerly chairman of both Sport England and UK Sport, said: "I don't believe it's up to me to comment about Tessa's award but I do hope that Trevor's contribution to sport in so many ways will eventually be properly recognised."

Ireland stand-off David Humphreys received an MBE after becoming the most prolific scorer in Irish history with 499 points.

The 32-year-old Ulsterman said: "My reaction was one of complete and utter surprise and amazement. In some ways it came at a good time, just after we had been knocked out of the World Cup.

"I'd never had an indication that it was going to happen. When you play sport, it's really the last thing you'd ever consider."

Scottish-born yachtswoman Emma Richards also picked up an MBE and in the Commonwealth section of the list an OBE for Bahamas 200m runner Pauline Davis-Thompson, who won silver at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney.

Many less well-known people were also honoured for their contribution to sport:

  • Evelyn Greer, from Belfast, received an OBE for her work on the board of the 2003 Special Olympic World Games, and there were awards for two people involved in veteran swimming.

  • Dorothy Weston, a 90-year-old from Shepperton in Surrey, received the MBE after becoming the world masters record holder in four events.

  • Alan Clarkson from Haxby in North Yorkshire received the OBE for his performances in the over-65 categories and in swimming administration.

    BBC Sport's Kevin Gearey
    "All of the squad have been honoured"

    England centre Will Greenwood
    "We'll soon settle down to calling Clive 'Sir'"

    ALSO IN THIS SECTION Man Utd beat Stoke to move level at top
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