When Liza Burgess came off the bench in the final game of the 2007 Women’s Six Nations – it capped a stunning international career off in perfect style.
Twenty years on from Wales Women’s first-ever international back in 1987 – also against England – Burgess was still there driving her country forward both on and off the pitch.
Burgess – nicknamed Bird to all that know her – was the key cog in the women’s game in a career that spanned over three decades, with 93 international caps including six appearances for Great Britain.
And since that final international – when she came on for the final time at the age of 42 – Burgess’ contribution to the game has not stopped.
She has been forwards coach to Wales women, head coach of the Under-20s and is now assistant at Gloucester Hartpury in the Tyrrells Premier 15s.
And a life dedicated to the game she loves has earned her spot in the World Rugby Hall of Fame as one of five 2018 inductees.
Burgess joins Stephen Larkham, Ronan O’Gara, Pierre Villepreux and Bryan Williams in the 2018 class – becoming the 142nd entrant and only the tenth woman.
“I’m lucky to have played a sport I love and to be honoured in this way is unbelievable,” she told the Welsh Rugby Union.
“It’s genuinely difficult to put into words how I feel. All the other players being inducted are all phenomenal.
“I’m just really honoured to be inducted alongside Stephen Larkham, Ronan O’Gara, Pierre Villepreux and Bryan Williams who are all legends of the game.
“This award has come out of the blue and something I would never have expected but hopefully it shows that women’s rugby is here to stay.”
Born back in Newport in 1964, the now 54 year old has been a pioneer in the women’s game since her breakthrough at Loughborough University in 1983 under the tutelage of another Hall of Fame inductee, Jim Greenwood.
In total she captained Wales 62 times – played in four World Cups and was assistant coach at two more – and has become synonymous with the women’s game in Wales.
And the former No.8 is more than deserving of her spot in the 2018 class.
World Rugby Chairman and Hall of Fame inductee Bill Beaumont said: “The World Rugby Hall of Fame importantly acknowledges and celebrates the true legends of the game, celebrating those who have made outstanding contributions throughout their careers while embodying rugby’s values.
“On behalf of the rugby family we would like to congratulate this year’s five new inductees, Stephen Larkham, Ronan O’Gara, Pierre Villepreux, Byran Williams and Liza Burgess as they are recognised and honoured for their immense contributions to rugby.”