Catherine Spencer hailed her success at the Rugby Union Writers' Club Awards as a landmark moment for the women's game after claiming a Special Award in London.
The England skipper was honoured along with Brian O’Driscoll and rugby’s newest knight Sir Ian McGeechan to crown an historic 12 months.
Spencer’s side retained their RBS Six Nations title in March before beating world champions New Zealand for the first time in eight years at Twickenham in November.
And after taking her seat at rugby’s top table alongside McGeechan and Sir Clive Woodward, Spencer admitted the women’s game was finally taking its turn in the limelight.
“The honour was great for me as an individual and for England as a team, but it was brilliant for the women’s game to be given that profile at such a prestigious ceremony,” said Spencer.
“We are really starting to get that level of recognition both inside and outside the sport.
“I was a little in awe of the people at the table, I had just watched the Lions DVD two days earlier and it was a little strange sitting there with Ian McGeechan.
“It was a real honour to be sat among that company as an ambassador for the women’s game and hopefully it is something that continues.”
Spencer’s side kick-off their RBS Six Nations campaign against Wales at Esher on February 6, before travelling to Italy seven days later.
And after suffering a shock defeat at the hands of the Welsh last year, Spencer is determined to gain revenge next month.
“We feel we have to right the wrongs of last year against Wales and set a tone for next year,” added Spencer.
“So much of rugby is about sending messages to your opponents and we want to do that with the first game.
“That is why I was delighted to see that we were playing Wales first because we can get that message sent early and hopefully set the tone for our tournament.”