England's Michaela Staniford admits winning the IRB Women’s Player of the Year award has capped off a “wonderful year”.
Staniford, who teaches PE at Rickmansworth School, was presented the prestigious honour, which recognises excellence on the field of play, by Rugby Football Union Chairman Bill Beaumont after England's 32-23 victory over New Zealand at Twickenham on Saturday.
The achievement caps a stellar year for the versatile 25-year old wing who has impressed playing for her country at the very highest level in both XVs and Sevens.
She appeared in the 2006 and 2010 Women’s Rugby World Cup and the 2009 Women's Rugby World Cup Sevens.
Staniford, who has won 53 caps for England, was named best player of the IRB Women’s Sevens Challenge Cup series earlier this year having impressed across all three tournaments.
She then bagged five tries in three appearances as England claimed a seventh successive Women’s Six Nations title.
On receiving the award, Staniford said: “I am delighted to be receiving this prestigious award, which is as much a reflection of the achievements of the England Sevens and Fifteens squads in 2012 as it is of my own personal journey.
“To receive this award in front of our home fans at Twickenham after a Series victory against New Zealand is really, really special. It caps a wonderful year.”
IRB Chairman Bernard Lapasset added: “Women’s Rugby is going from strength to strength around the world and the high standard of international competition makes the IRB Women's Player of the Year award exceptionally competitive.
“Michaela has consistently demonstrated on the world's biggest stages with England in XVs and Sevens that she is a stand-out performer and thoroughly deserves this prestigious award.”