Franchise owner Craig Hunter outlines his keys to didi rugby success

Children run around with balls in their hands at Reading Rugby Club's didi rugby session

Two years after launching the didi rugby Reading franchise, co-owner Craig Hunter explains why it has been such a big success and outlines opportunities to those thinking of getting involved.

“We are very pleased with our journey having started it all off with one days a week at one club, Reading RFC,” he said.

“After one month, I decided to go three days a week at work to develop didi rugby and a few months later, I went full time on didi because the opportunity seemed too good.

“It was a big change for me and the family but I bit the bullet and it has been both hard-work and very enjoyable.

“We are now doing 14 classes a week in the area and are working with three rugby clubs: Reading, Aldermaston and Thatcham.

“Our aim with those clubs is to help grow their minis section and, for example, in Reading’s Under-6s, 14 of their players are from didi classes last year. Our links with clubs enable the children to move seamlessly up to tag rugby when they become too old for didi rugby classes.

didi HQ team

“The siblings of those kids often come along and join in too.”

Craig runs the Reading output with co-owners Donna Clark and Clare Swadling and, with coaches like Umit Akyildiz and Sam Treverton taking on plenty of responsibility too, it’s a well-oiled team.

“We are also in 19 schools doing in-school classes or after school school sessions and we have had five other ones approach us recently too. Word of mouth is key and the didi rugby social media is great too,” Craig continued.

“The job i was doing before was great but I was ready for a change and rugby is my passion. I always wanted to do something like this and a number of my friends have come and got involved too which is great.

“It’s a real team effort in Reading and the didi HQ team have been great support as well. There is fantastic leadership here at didi rugby.”

Craig Hunter

didi rugby founder and CEO Vicky Macqueen said Craig and the rest of his team had done an amazing job.

“Craig, Donna and everyone involved with didi rugby Reading have been superb at spreading didi rugby’s values and engaging with clubs, schools and the local community,” she said.

“They have worked very hard to grow their provision and have shown just what can be achieved with a didi rugby franchise.

“They have proactive and positive all along and it has been a pleasure for us all at didi rugby HQ to see their growth over the last two years. I am sure there is even more to come in the Reading and Berkshire area.”

  • If you would like an informal chat about the opportunities available to coach or own a didi rugby franchise, email or find out more on our website’s ‘franchising‘ section

Read more: 12 Reasons why you should launch a didi rugby franchise

Watch: VIDEO – didi rugby franchising can be a full-time or part-time venture…

Read more: New didi coach Jenny is also the only Level 6 female referee in Leicestershire.

Watch: See what Craig Hunter thought of didi rugby during his early days with the franchise…



12 reasons to launch a didi rugby franchise

didi rugby CEO Vicky Macqueen presents to franchise owners at the annual didi rugby conference in March 2022

didi rugby has launched new franchises in Cornwall, South Cambridgeshire and Devon in the last few months. Could you be the latest owner of a successful didi rugby franchise?

Owner and CEO Vicky Macqueen is keen to expand the didi experience and says she is confident that the business model that has been developed is one that can continue to be a success.

“I was running the business in my home county of Leicestershire for two years before we decided to start working towards a franchise model so feel that I have learned from experience what works and what doesn’t work,” said Vicky.

didi rugby CEO Vicky Macqueen presents to franchise owners at the annual didi rugby conference in March 2022
There is a strong family feel to didi rugby franchises

Very successful

“Those experiences have helped us put together a franchise plan that we believe can be very successful given that the person behind the business has the right outlook and drive to deliver it.

“Our central didi UK team is dedicated and passionate and is committed to delivering on our promise to support didi franchises both before and after they launch.

“And we have loved working with new franchise owners from all walks of life who have taken the didi brand and values forward over the past year and formed a tight bond between themselves to spread and support new ideas and best practice.

12 reasons why you should open a didi franchise: 

1) Join a wonderful and friendly team at didi rugby – but become owner of your own business.

2) Work with a proven franchise business model that can pay back your investment within 4 to 12 months, depending on the pace and size of your business.

3) If you have the business know-how but lack the imagination to put that into practice, we can help.

4) If you have little time to get a business set-up and want to earn money right away, we have a plan.

5) Do you need a fast return on any investment? Our franchise plans can help make that a reality.

6) Do you struggle with branding, concepts and marketing presence? Our experienced team is here to help.

7) Do you have a coaching qualification you would like to put into practice but need help with the business side of things? We can help.

8) There are options for part-time, full-time or multi-franchise buy-ins.

9) didi rugby will actively help find ambassadors in your area to help promote your business and provide guidance on how best to use your ambassadors.

10) There is an existing merchandise online shop already working to earn you additional profits from sales.

11) There is access to established resources including all the kit, coaching manuals, systems and the opportunity to learn and share with other franchisees.

12) Receive full training and support from the UK team regarding coaching skills, business operations and administration and all sorts of back-up.