British and Irish Lions captain Sam Warburton has been awarded an OBE in the New Year Honours, along with England Women cricket skipper Heather Knight.
Welshman Warburton led the Lions on their last two tours, including the drawn Test series against world champions New Zealand during the summer.
The 29-year-old Cardiff Blues flanker is currently recovering from surgery on a neck problem which ruled him out of contention for Wales’ Test matches in November and December.
His club posted on Twitter on Friday evening: “It’s been an unbelievable 12 months for @samwarburton_!! Congratulations on the OBE from everyone here at Cardiff Blues. We couldn’t be prouder and can’t wait to see you back in the blue shirt soon!”
He has so far won 74 international caps for Wales and also led the Lions in Australia in 2013, when he became the squad’s youngest captain at 24 for the 2-1 victory over the Wallabies.
Warburton was part of the Cardiff team which beat Toulon to win the 2010 European Challenge Cup, a first continental success for a Welsh club.
Knight receives her OBE for services to cricket following England’s World Cup triumph, which was delivered with victory over India at Lord’s in July.
The 27-year-old said she was “blown away” to receive the “massive honour”.
“When I was a young girl playing cricket for my brother’s team in Plymouth, I couldn’t have imagined that one day I would get an honour for captaining my country to a successful World Cup,” Knight said.
“It just shows what’s possible, and hopefully young girls pursuing sport today will see that it can take you places.”
Knight, who is currently in Australia, added: “It would be amazing if this honour made one girl think that she fancies picking up a cricket bat.”
The coach of the team, Mark Robinson, also collects an OBE while bowler Anya Shrubsole and Kent’s Tammy Beaumont both receive the MBE.
The England and Wales Cricket Board director of women’s cricket Clare Connor becomes a CBE, having previously been awarded an OBE.
Former Scotland rugby union captain Ian McLauchlan becomes an OBE, which came as a “very pleasant surprise”.
“I see it as an honour to myself, my family and Scottish rugby in general because that is what it’s all about. Without that background, there’s nothing there,” said the 75-year-old former loosehead prop, who was nicknamed ‘Mighty Mouse’ and also enjoyed success with the Lions.
“I think it’s a good thing that at the present moment Scottish rugby is on the rise and this is another little shot in the arm for everyone.”
Ed Morrison, England’s first full-time professional rugby union referee, also collects an OBE.
Morrison took charge of the 1995 World Cup final when South Africa defeated New Zealand after extra time in Johannesburg.
Former Manchester United youth-team coach Eric Harrison – who helped develop the ‘Class of 92’ including the likes of Paul Scholes, the Neville brothers, Nicky Butt, Ryan Giggs and David Beckham – receives an MBE.
Paralympian Stef Reid, who won silver in the F44 long jump at London 2012 and Rio 2016, is also awarded an MBE.
Welsh cycling coach Alan Davis, who helped the likes of Olympic team pursuit gold medallists Owain Doull and Elinor Barker as youngsters while also riding with Geraint Thomas, becomes an MBE.
International Ski Federation secretary general Sarah Lewis receives an OBE for services to sport, Scotland and Lions team doctor James Robson is awarded an MBE, while Nicky Henderson – trainer of the Queen’s racehorses – has been made a Royal Victorian Order Lieutenant (LVO).
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