World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont has been awarded a knighthood in The Queen's New Year's honours list in the United Kingdom.

Kate Caithness, the President of World Curling, meanwhile, has been made a Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the awards published to coincide with the New Year.

The award means that Beaumont is now officially known as Sir William Beaumont.

The honour is in recognition of a champion of rugby, who has dedicated his life to the betterment of the sport on and off the field in both a domestic and global context, it is said in the citation. 

"I am honoured and humbled to receive this accolade from Her Majesty the Queen for services to rugby," 66-year-old Sir Bill, elected chairman of World Rugby in 2016, said. 

"I have always viewed my work in the sport as an administrator as that of a guardian, driven by a passion to do the very best I can for rugby and the people who give up their time every week on the touchlines at rugby clubs around the world to inspire new generations of players, supporters and volunteers. 

"It is as much recognition for them and all who work in the sport as it is me."

Sir Bill played for England in 34 Test matches and captained them in 21.

Formerly chairman of the Rugby Football Union in England, oveseeing the biggest and best Rugby World Cup to date in 2015, a tournament that attracted over 400,000 international visitors and created a nationwide celebration of rugby that delivered record economic, social and participation benefits.

"Rugby has been my life for more than half-a-century and has given me so much joy as a player, a father of rugby-playing sons and an administrator," said Sir Bill. 

"I am fortunate to be in a position to give back to the sport I love and I am as passionate now about rugby as I was when pulling on that Fylde, Lancashire, England or British and Irish Lions jersey.

"Rugby has made great progress on and off the field in recent years and I believe that we are on an incredible journey with significant participation and fan growth, while 2019 is set to be a game-changer as we look ahead to the first Rugby World Cup in Asia.

"In my opinion, rugby is the ultimate team sport - a sport with strong values and where the team is always greater than the individual - and I have been blessed to have played and worked with some superb people along the way who share the same passion for the betterment of the sport. 

"There is, however, one person who has supported me above all else, through thick and thin, from my playing days to now - my wife Hilary - she has is my rock and inspiration."

Caithness was the first female President of an Olympic Winter Games Federation and has been involved in curling since the 1980s. 

She is also just one of only two female Presidents in all Olympic summer and winter sports. 

"Her service to "Curling and International Disability Sport" earned her an Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire in 2013.

"To receive such recognition is the most wonderful honour," said Caithness.

"My ambition has always been to work for the good health of the sport of curling, something that is a great pleasure to do. 

"During my time in office I have also had the privilege to work across sport more generally within the Olympic Movement.

"This is something I could not have done alone and my sincere thanks go to the family, friends, curlers, World Curling and sports colleagues who have supported me along the way."

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