Try and you will succeed – England rugby captain Katy Mclean

AS the first woman to play rugby for England professionally with 78 caps for the national team, Katy Mclean MBE has been awarded an Honorary Fellowship of Sunderland University.

Katy, who was born in South Shields, began playing rugby at her local club Westoe aged five  – a sport loved by her family. After dreaming of winning the World Cup when she was a child she led her team to victory in Canada, 2014, and now has her sights firmly set on Rio for the Olympic Games next year.

She studied a Sports Science BSc at Sunderland University in 2007 before achieving a PG Cert in Education and teaching at the city’s Bexhill Academy, all while playing top-flight women’s rugby.

Katy Mclean, England Rugby’s fly half and captain of five years was awarded an honorary fellowship at the winter graduation ceremony held at the Stadium of Light yesterday in recognition of her achievements and her services to rugby and women’s sport.

“I’ve met some of my best friends playing rugby, that’s the beauty of that sport – it’s really inclusive, it takes any shape, size and ability – you don’t have to fit a mould to play rugby. So if you’ve never fitted in anywhere rugby is a really good place to start.”

Katy Mclean MBE


“To captain England to a World Cup, to finally achieve that last year was very special. That was easily my proudest moment, we worked so hard for it and so many things had happened, it was a massive relief if anything but also I felt very proud of everything we had achieved as a team as well,” she added.

“It’s a massive honour for me to receive this award from the University of Sunderland. I had a brilliant time at Sunderland, I made a completely new set of friends and the support from the university academically was really helpful. I enjoyed my time there so much I came back to do my GTP (General Teaching Practice)!”

MAIN PHOTO: England women’s rugby team captain Katy McLean attends the Sunderland University Winter Graduation ceremony at the Stadium of Light Picture: DAVID WOOD