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Friday, 14 June, 2002, 23:03 GMT 00:03 UK
Woodward and Leonard rewarded
Clive Woodward has been awarded the OBE
Clive Woodward has been awarded the OBE
Clive Woodward and Jason Leonard have become the latest members of the rugby union fraternity to be honoured for their professional achievement.

The England coach has been awarded the OBE after revolutionising the England set-up since taking over as coach from Jack Rowell in 1997.

England prop Leonard, with 98 caps to his name, was awarded an MBE.


I would like to thank everybody for their support over the years
Jason Leonard
"I am absolutely delighted and privileged, and somewhat surprised, to be given this award," said Leonard.

"Being part of English rugby for 12 years I have seen many changes to the game and I am still honoured to be part of it.

"I would like to thank everybody for their support over the years from grass roots rugby right up to the international game."

Woodward has endured a turbulent time since accepting the role.

A famously blunt speaker, the former British Lion immediately backed himself into a corner by announcing he should be judged on England's performances in the 1999 World Cup.

A subsequent quarter-final defeat by South Africa left 46-year-old somewhat embarrassed.

Jason Leonard gets an MBE
Jason Leonard gets an MBE
But he learned from the disappointment and has finally established his side among the leading candidates for next season's competition.

After a playing career with Harlequins, Leicester and Australian outfit Manly which brought him 21 England caps as well as Lions honours, Woodward cut his coaching teeth in Manly before returning to England where he took charge of Henley.

Stints at London Irish and Bath followed before the Rugby Football Union came calling.

Although, such has been his willingness to take on the establishment in a relentless pursuit of excellence, sometimes they must wonder why they bothered.

Woodward, who has received the steadfast support of wife Jayne and his three children throughout his career, has also never been afraid to take chances.

He pitched rugby league convert Jason Robinson into the Test arena when many thought the former Wigan man could never make a successful transition from the 13-man game.

Most-capped forward

And his gamble has been rewarded. Robinson is now established as a true world star and Woodward will be hoping for more stars to emerge on England's current tour to Argentina.

Leonard has been excused that particular trip but the 33-year-old prop will still hope to be around for England's World Cup mission.

Ironically, it was against Argentina that Leonard became the youngest England prop for 23 years when he made his international debut in 1990.

He has since gone on to smash the England appearance record, has become the most-capped forward in Test history and only centurions Philippe Sella and David Campese stand above him on the all-time list.

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England coach Clive Woodward
"I'm very pleased"
Find out more about the Birthday Honours 2002

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