A selfless ambassador for women’s rugby and “a genuine, 24-carat English sporting heroine,” according to The Times’ rugby writer Stephen Jones.

Within a couple of seasons of taking up the sport, after receiving an invitation to play for Liverpool Polytechnic, the only women's team in the local area at the time, Burns found herself representing England. Fittingly, her debut against Sweden was played at Waterloo RFC, where she established the club’s first women’s section and played for over two decades. 

The athletic number eight enjoyed a 14-year international career from 1988 to 2002, winning a then record 73 caps for her country. She was long-standing captain of the national side, after succeeding Karen Almond, and a member of England’s Women’s Rugby World Cup-winning team of 1994 – one of four tournaments she competed in.

After retiring as a player, she became the first overarching female president of an English rugby club when Waterloo handed her the honour in 2004. A year later she was awarded an MBE. Burns also enjoyed a 10-year term as president of the RFUW.

Inducted in October 2014

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