The International Rugby Board has announced that Noel Murphy has been awarded the Vernon Pugh Award for Distinguished Service and Chia-Seng Lin the IRB Development Award. Both presentations were made at the ninth IRB General Assembly in Dublin on Monday.
Noel Murphy received the Vernon Pugh Award for Distinguished Service, one of rugby’s highest accolades, in recognition of remarkable achievements in the game as a player, coach and leading administrator.
Murphy was capped 41 times for Ireland between 1958 and 1969 including five Tests as captain.
In playing for Ireland, he emulated the achievement of his father and when his son Kenny was also capped in 1990, the Murphys became the first family to have a father, son and grandson capped by senior level. They still hold this unique record.
An all-action flanker, Noel toured twice with the British & Irish Lions to New Zealand and Australia in 1959 and 1966 respectively and again as coach in 1980.
After hanging up his boots in 1969, he returned to his native county to coach Cork Constitution, moving on to coach Munster and ultimately Ireland from 1977 to 1980.
A fine career was capped with service as President of the IRFU and as an IRB Council Member.
IRB Chairman Bernard Lapasset said: “Noel Murphy is a true embodiment of the dedication, integrity and passion for the game which gave the Vernon Pugh Award its eponymous title.
“There are few people who excel as a player, coach and administrator, but Noel has done all three with vigour and dedication. We are all extremely grateful for his immense contribution to the game.”
Murphy added: “It’s a tremendous honour to hold a Vernon Pugh Award named after a man who gave so much to rugby.
“Rugby is something special, it gave me the opportunity to meet people and to make friends. Those friends you make and the friends you keep, that’s what makes our game so unique.”
Murphy is the second Irishman to receive the Vernon Pugh Award, following in the footsteps of 2004 winner Ronnie Dawson, who lined out alongside Murphy for both Ireland and the Lions.
The IRB Development Award was presented to Chia-Seng Lin, known to the rugby family as Carlson Lin, from the Chinese Taipei Rugby Football Union for his exceptional contribution to the development of the game in Asia and the advancement of match official training and recruitment across a region that is experiencing exceptional growth.
Lin was Rugby Sevens Event Manager at this year’s World Games in Kaohsiung, an event hailed as a tremendous success.
He has also served as a Judicial Officer, Referee Manager, Match Commissioner and Referee Educator since taking up the whistle in 1964.
An invaluable asset to Asian rugby and a true champion of Rugby Sevens, Lin is now Vice President of the Chinese Taipei Rugby Football Union and an IRB Educator of Match Officials.
Lapasset said: “Without the dedication of volunteers across the World, rugby simply would not survive and Carlson Lin has invested many years of his life both in becoming an exceptional referee and training others to do the same.
“This award is in recognition of his tremendous contribution to developing the game. The Rugby Sevens event at the World Games is natural fit for multi-sport events and its success was much to do with the work of Lin and his team.”
Lin added: “I am very pleased to get this award and it is a great honour for me to accept it on behalf of the rugby people of Asia.”
These two awards, together with the three IRB Awards presented on Saturday, mean 11 of the 13 IRB Awards in association with Emirates Airline, including the IRB Hall of Fame, have now been presented.
The IRPA Special Merit Award and IRPA Try of the Year Award winners will be announced before the end of 2009.
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