Rugby star, 20, dies after suffering injury during match as club pay tribute

Tributes have poured in for 20-year-old rugby player Maddy Lawrence, who died last week following injuries sustained during a match. Lawrence played as a winger for the University of West England, and tragically passed away last Friday.

The 20-year-old died in hospital and her team have since released a touching tribute paying their respects. In a statement released on Instagram, they wrote: “Celebrating the life of Maddy ‘Twinkle toes’ Lawrence who sadly left us too soon on the 25th March.

"Maddy exemplified what it means to be a UWE Women’s Rugby Player, ‘tackling’ every new skill with enthusiasm. She proudly represented our club both on and off the rugby pitch, growing into the sport and our rugby family.

“Maddy was a bubbly girl who was so fun to be around. Whenever she smiled and laughed you couldn’t help but smile and laugh with her. That was the sort of player, friend, sister and daughter Maddy was.

"Her everlasting energy has left its mark on this club, she will forever be our number 11 and will forever be our friend. We will be retiring the number 11 shirt in Maddy’s honour and remembrance.Rest in peace our beautiful girl."

England international and World Cup winner Rochelle Clark responded to the statement and offered her condolences. She wrote: “So sorry to hear this devastating news, my thoughts are with all her teammates, family and friends. A young life taken way too soon.”

The Rugby Football Union also paid tribute to Lawrence, via a post on their Twitter account. They tweeted: “On behalf of everyone at the RFU, we extend our heartfelt sympathies to the family and friends of Maddy Lawrence.

“The thoughts of everyone in the game are with UWE Women's Rugby, their players, members and the wider rugby community." Following their teammate's passing, the University of West England rugby team have called on all women’s teams across the country to hold a one-minute applause in memory of the 20-year-old at this weekend’s games.

Tom Monks, Head of UWE Women’s Rugby Union, added: “Maddy was an absolute pleasure to coach. She wanted to learn and appreciated every playing opportunity that her dedication warranted.

''The unity and togetherness of this year’s squad is the strongest I’ve ever felt in my 20 years of coaching and Maddy’s beaming smile and warmth embodied the incredible bond we have.”

A spokesperson for the club said: “Everyone in the UWE Bristol community is profoundly shocked and saddened by the death of our student and talented UWE Women’s Rugby player Maddy Lawrence.

“We would like to pass on our deepest condolences and sympathies to Maddy’s family, friends and teammates, at this very difficult time.

“Fellow students, university staff and members of the UWE Bristol sporting community affected by this tragic news can access a full range of university support services offered by our Wellbeing Service or can contact the Samaritans helpline.”

Family and friends of the rugby player have set up a GoFundMe page in her honour, with all donations going towards helping set up a foundation in her name which will supporting Women’s Rugby and mental health.

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