didi ambassador – Alex Matthews

For someone who first started running around with a rugby ball soon after she learned to walk, Alex Matthews fully knows the value of getting stuck-in early on.

With a house that backed onto Camberley Rugby Club, three-year-old Alex was soon getting involved in their junior set-up…and she never looked back.

Learning key skills during her formative years helped her arrive on the big stage with a bang in 2011 at a young age and she was then among the youngest members of the England squad to lift the Women’s Rugby World Cup trophy in 2014, having come off the bench to play in the last 15 minutes of the final.

She then featured in every game of the 2017 tournament in Ireland, receiving the player of the match award for her performance against the USA.

didi ambassador Alex Matthews

Sevens programme

In 2017/18, the flanker’s athleticism, versatility and strong all-round game earned her a place in the national Sevens programme.

Playing her club rugby for Richmond, she is closing in on a half century of caps for her country now and, at there is plenty more to come from someone who is only just hitting her mid-20s.

Alex has been involved with didi rugby’s Reading franchise from its beginnings and is very keen to keep spreading the word.

“My dad took me and my sister across the road to Camberley Rugby Club when we were young to stop us wreaking havoc around the house,” says Alex. “I enjoyed it from a young age so when Craig Hunter at didi Reading asked me to run around with little kids I thought ‘why not?’.

“It’s good fun and not only gets the kids running around with a ball but it builds up their confidence too because they are always making new friends and socialising.”

didi ambassador – Millie Wood

Millie Wood has a habit of making a point on the big stage.

The England centre scored a try on her national team debut against Canada in July 2016.

And she also ran in a double for the University of Gloucestershire when her side won the BUCS title at Twickenham.

Having started playing the game at the age of 14, she made rapid progress and enjoyed three successful seasons with the England Under-20s team, captaining the side along the way.

Her pace and power earned her a first Sevens contract in 2016 and, at the start of 2017, she became a full-time member of the squad.

didi ambassador – Millie Wood in action

Pace and power

That power is obvious when she plays the game of rugby and no more than you would expect from someone who used to take part in the shot-putt and discus.

Born in Cheltenham, Millie says she is excited to be spreading the game to youngsters through didi rugby, having just joined Reading RFC to help coach the club’s girls set-up too.

“Rugby is an amazing sport and to be able to encourage young boys and girls to start playing it at such a young age is something I am delighted to be a part of,” says Millie.

“There is a lot of energy in the coaching team that drive didi rugby and a really friendly atmosphere throughout. I am really looking forward to playing my part in the development of young boys and girls when I can and hope I can make an impact.”

didi ambassador – Carys Phillips

Carys Phillips is a hooker for the Wales national team and she also plays for Bristol and the Ospreys.

The daughter of former Wales international Rowland Phillips graduated from Cardiff Metropolitan University.

She won her first international cap against Ireland in the Six Nations in 2013 and has captained her country for almost two years, amassing over 40 caps in the process.

With a rugby playing such a strong role in the Phillips family, Carys knows ther importance of passing down the values and traditions to the next generation of players.

The front-row forward said she was delighted to become a part of the didi family because the classes provide a solid foundation for tomorrow’s sporting stars.

Wales hooker Carys Phillips is a didi rugby ambassador

Women's rugby

“didi rugby will be brilliant for women’s rugby because it ensures a bright future by getting girls to join in and begin playing a fantastic sport,” she said.

“The idea of didi rugby is important because it focuses on young children. It encourages them to pick up a ball and learn some core skills while having fun at the same time.”

Carys is one of a number of high-profile sports women who have become ambassadors of didi rugby to support the Swansea franchise, which has been thriving under the leadership of Robyn Lock.

MBE Non Evans was at the Swansea opening while women’s internationals: Alecs Donovan, Amy Evans and Siwan Lillicrap are adding their energy and experience too.

didi Ambassador – Sam Harrison

Sam Harrison grew up close to didi Rugby HQ in Hinckley and has since made his name as a professional rugby player a few miles away at Welford Road playing for Leicester Tigers.

After making his debut in 2008/9, he forged his way into the first team as a regular in 2010 and has been a valuable member of it ever since. At the time of writing, he is closing in on 150 appearances for his home town club.

Always a popular member of the squad, he was named Players’ Player of the Season in 2014/15 after 18 appearances.

One of the reasons why Sam is so popular to the Leicester Tigers faithful is his versatility and ability to fit in at any place right across the back line. A tenacious scrum-half by trade, he has often filled in at fly-half and has also played on the wing on several occasions too.

didi ambassador Sam Harrison

Improves activity levels in kids

Wherever he plays, Sam is the epitome of reliability in a Tigers’ shirt.

Sam’s daughter has been a regular at didi Rugby sessions and so he was delighted to become an ambassador.

“didi Rugby is great because it improves the activity levels in kids and develops their skills through the tools of rugby,” he said.

“It is also very educational in terms of kids learning about colours, numbers, balance and co-ordination. It teaches them team ethics and how to win and lose which is very good for their social skills.

“But most of all, didi is just really good fun and a vehicle to get young kids running around and being active.”

didi Ambassador – Geordan Murphy

Geordan Murphy was dubbed ‘the George Best of rugby’ during his playing days because of the amazing things he could do with an oval ball.

Now he is transferring that knowledge to the coaching arena and Leicester Tigers are the beneficiaries of his skills set.

It was also the club which helped make Geordan the Premiership’s most decorated player. When the Irishman finished his 16th season at Welford Road, he had won eight league titles with the Tigers and two European Cups.

Over that time, he made 322 appearances for his club, 72 Test appearances for his country and earned seven caps for the British & Irish Lions.

Leicester Tigers legend Geordan Murphy is a didi ambassador

Geordan became assistant backs coach when he joined the Tigers back-room staff and was promoted to interim head coach after matt O’Connor’s sacking in 2018.

He believes strongly in the values of didi rugby.

“As an ambassador, I wanted to endorse didi rugby because it improves the activity levels and skills of youngsters, while also developing their self-confidence using rugby as a tool to do this. Perfect,” he said.

Valuable knowledge

“Founder Vicky Macqueen comes from her own international playing career, a career in teaching and she brings her own experience as a mum. She has combined all this valuable knowledge together to put together a multi-skills-based activity programme based on the theme of rugby.

“Ultimately, didi Rugby is about little ones staying active and having fun while improving their coordination, balance, agility, and hand eye co-ordination.

“And what I really like about Vicky’s programme is it really instils the core values of rugby which are so important in sport and life! Team work, respect, self-belief, confidence and even basic social skills like learning to share and learning to lose.

“I would certainly recommend this programme and am looking forward to seeing more of Didi rugby in the future.”

didi Ambassador – Harry Ellis

Harry Ellis had a stellar career with his home-town club the Leicester Tigers and made 173 appearances during a ten-year career at Welford Road.

During that time, he went on to make 27 appearances for England and was capped by the British & Irish Lions on the 2009 tour of South Africa.

A persistent knee injury forced Ellis to retire from the game in 2010 but he has maintained an interest in the game by coaching at various levels.

Ellis first started playing rugby from a very young age and joined South Leicester as a six-year-old. He went on to represent the Midlands at every level and eventually joined the Leicester Tigers Academy and made his first team debut in France in 2001.

From that moment on, he never looked back and the local lad became a firm fans’ favourite on the terraces at Welford Road for the next decade, not only for his local connections, but for his tenacious spirit and deadly burst of pace.

Former Leicester Tigers scrum-half Harry Ellis is a didi ambassador

As well as his international recognition, Ellis won all three rugby club competitions: the Anglo Welsh Cup, the Premiership and Europe’s Holy Grail, the Heineken Cup.

Getting children active

An injury that he picked up in training during the 2009/10 season eventually led to his retirement and, it was fitting that his final game for Leicester was against a local rival Northampton side that he had tormented for many a clash.

Now with a young family of his own, Ellis knows the importance of getting children active and healthy from a young age and that is why he wanted to become an ambassador of didi Rugby.

“It is a privilege to be able to support such a worthwhile sport for youngsters,” he said. “My experience of being a professional rugby player gave me so many benefits, both physically, socially and mentally.

“So for children to have the opportunity to play and develop by taking part in didi rugby at a young age is magnificent.”

didi Ambassador – Graham Rowntree

It is extremely unlikely that any of today’s modern rugby professionals will top the amount of performances that Graham Rowntree made for Leicester Tigers.

As part of the fabled ABC Club, with Darren Garforth and Richard Cockerill, the loose head prop played 398 times for his club during a stellar and well-decorated 17-year career.

He also earned international recognition for both England and the British & Irish Lions, with 54 caps for his country.

When Graham ended his playing career, he quickly moved into coaching to pass on some of the vast knowledge he has picked up from a host of world-class coaches during his playing days.

Starting his coaching career with Leicester, Graham was fast-tracked into the England set-up where he stayed for eight years before leaving in December 2015.

didi Rugby ambassador Graham Rowntree

He was also forwards’ coach for the British & Irish Lions during the winning series in Australia in 2013 and is now forwards in the Aviva Premiership for Harlequins.

Large family

With a large family of his own, Graham appreciates the values that rugby brings to young people.

“I am a huge advocate of Vicky Macqueen’s didi Rugby programme,” he said. “Having been involved with rugby at all levels my whole life, I totally believe in the values that it instils in little ones to play fair, share with friends, and show respect for each other as well as the obvious health and fitness benefits that are vital for youngsters.

“Getting them into a programme such as didi Rugby at an early age gives them the perfect start to life-long participation in sport and exercise, while having fun too!

“I am excited to be an ambassador for didi rugby and look forward to watching didi Rugby grow on a national and international basis.”

didi ambassador – Matt Elliott

Former Scotland international and Leicester City footballer Matt Elliott is known for his exploits with a round ball, instead of an oval one.

But, having seen what Vicky Macqueen’s programme has to offer, he became an didi Rugby ambassador because of the values it promotes to young children. Values that he believes are central to getting young people involved in any sport.

“I am really pleased to be an ambassador of didi Rugby. When I first heard about the programme I thought it was a fantastic concept and now having seen it in practice I am glad to be involved,” he said.

“I firmly believe that anything encouraging children to be active in any sport, whilst learning through play and gaining confidence is a good thing. Didi rugby is certainly that!

“Vicky has created a programme that encourages little ones to enjoy sport and physical activity whilst learning new skills and developing concepts like fair play and teamwork.”

didi ambassador Matt Elliott

Central defender

Matt gained 18 caps for his country during a professional playing career that spanned 17 years and saw him make 589 first-team appearances, most notably at Leicester City (245), Oxford United (148) and Torquay (124).

He made his name at Leicester as a bruising central defender in a side that won the League Cup in 2000 – scoring both of his side’s goals in the final – and was part of a squad that surprised many people as Leicester enjoyed an impressive run in the Premiership under Martin O’Neill in the late 1990s.

Since retiring, a brief spell in non-league management was followed by a post with Radio Leicester commentating on the team he made most of his first-team appearances for.

didi Ambassador – Vicky Fleetwood

didi rugby ambassador, Vicky Fleetwood of Saracens wearing a red top

Born in Nuneaton, just up the road from the central hub of didi rugby, Vicky Fleetwood is one of England’s most decorated players.

The 31-year-old hooker has 79 caps for her country and plays for Saracens in the Allianz Women’s Premier XVs.

As a child, she was the UK’s top junior hurdler but eventually got into rugby as a player at the age of 14 after being tired of watching her brother play.

Vicky Fleetwood

Coming from the same Leicestershire School as England international and didi rugby ambassador Manu Tuilagi, Vicky played for Lichfield before moving to Saracens after England’s World Cup final in 2014.

Despite making her England debut in 2011, she raced to 50 caps in just four years.

More recently, Vicky played an important role in the path to success for her country in the 2021 autumn internationals.

Having had prior experience in personal training and diet and nutrition advising, she has now acquired the title of being a professional rugby player.

didi rugby ambassador


Vicky became a didi ambassador because the ethics and ideals of didi rugby are perfect for children’s development.

“I am a huge supporter of didi rugby because I think it is a fantastic way of getting children involved in sport and being active from such a young age. That is vital to their future development,” she said.

“Not only do didi’s staff work on their core skills such as handling, co-ordination and balance during educational games, they will also learn the values of rugby like respect and teamwork.

“In turn, this will build their confidence in their everyday life whether the children go on to play rugby or not. didi rugby will be a positive experience for everyone who gets involved.”

Meet our didi ambassadors: ‘Mo’ Hunt is a fiesty scrum-half with plenty of experience

Premier 15s round 7: Vicky Fleetwood reflects on Saracens Women win against Wasps YouTube interview:


didi ambassador – Natasha ‘Mo’ Hunt

Natasha Hunt is a feisty scrum-half who plays for England and club side Lichfield.

She has been within the England set-up from a young age and has worked her way up to the national team with whom she has won numerous honours.

Starting with the England Under-20s, Natasha moved up to England A, England Sevens and then the national team where she enjoyed a memorable time helping them win the World Cup in France in 2014.

didi ambassador Natasha ‘Mo’ Hunt represented Great Britain at the Rio Olympic Games in 2016

Strong bond off the pitch

She has also won the Six Nations title, been a tournament winner on the Sevens circuit and represented Great Britain at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.

Natasha still has as much love for the sport of rugby as she has always had since she began playing the game as a child.

“I have played a lot of different sports growing up and I just think there’s something really unique about rugby as there is such a strong bond off the pitch because of what you do on it,” she said.