A 20-year-old university rugby player has died a fortnight after being injured during a match.
Friends and teammates paid tribute to Maddy Lawrence as a bubbly, talented young woman who loved the game.
She died on 25 March after suffering an injury while playing for UWE Bristol women’s second team against the University of Bristol’s women’s second team.
A spokesperson for her university 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.”
Tom Monks, the head of UWE Women’s rugby union, said: “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.”
On Instagram, the club referred to her as “Maddy ‘Twinkle toes’ Lawrence and said: “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.”
The club will retire the No 11 shirt she played as a mark of respect.
The club had billed the match with Bristol as a “big rivalry game” before them match and said there was a “lovely mix of abilities” and that for some players it was their first game. It is understood Lawrence was hurt in a tackle.
Women’s clubs across the country were expected to mark Lawrence’s death. Rocky Clark of Saracens rugby club said: “So sorry to hear this devastating news, my thoughts are with all her teammates, family and friends. A young life taken way too soon.”