Following rugby union side Exeter Chiefs’ domestic and European titles last season, director of rugby Rob Baxter is made an OBE while captain Joe Simmonds becomes an MBE in the Queen’s New Year Honours list.
“I couldn’t quite work out if it was real or whether it was spam or someone having bit of a prank,” Baxter said of the moment he received the news.
“It turned up by email and not in an official letter. You download it, read it and check who it has been emailed from with a Google search.
“I was sat there with my wife, both of us in a slightly bemused state. My family are delighted.”
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Vodafone ambassador and rugby legend Paul O’Connell has chosen his British & Irish Lions XV, although admitted his selection changes by the hour.
- 15. Stuart Hogg (Scotland)
- 14. James Lowe (Ireland)
- 11. Jonny May (England)
“Hogg has taken his game to another level again with Exeter. I hope this tour can be a redemption for him after what happened in 2017.”
- 13. Garry Ringrose (Ireland)
- 12. Owen Farrell (England)
“Farrell has that kind of abrasive attitude as well and is very experienced as well in terms of taking on southern hemisphere teams, beating southern hemisphere teams. He obviously had that tough experience as well with South Africa in the World Cup so, as we are talking here, he springs to mind.”