England captain Sarah Hunter speaks at didi rugby annual conference

Sarah Hunter (left) stands with Vicky Macqueen and Italy international Sara Tounesi

England captain and didi rugby ambassador Sarah Hunter spoke passionately about her career and the personal drive she has needed throughout it when she addressed franchise owners at didi rugby’s annual conference in Hinckley.

The 34-year-old, who has an incredible 119 caps ahead of this year’s upcoming Women’s Six Nations has been a didi rugby ambassador since the early days of the business.

She played the early days of her career with didi rugby CEO and founder Vicky Macqueen when Vicky was coming to the end of her time as an international.

The Loughborough Lightning No.8 said she was happy to break away from her preparations for the Six Nations to address franchise owners from across the UK and give them some ideas of what it takes to get to the top – and try to stay there.

“We spoke about my experience in rugby and how I have managed to achieve a few things but we also spoke about the setbacks I have been through and how sport and business often correlate on that front,” said Sarah.

Ambassador

“It is often a rollercoaster ride overcoming setbacks and then setting goals to remind yourself what you want to achieve and how you are going to get it back on track.

“I feel passionately about didi rugby. It was an easy decision to get involved with it after I had heard Vicky’s ideas.

“When I saw her vision, that sold it for me. Not just for the fundamentals around getting young children to be fit and active – but also to help them interact with other kids. That bigger picture is very important for young children.

“I love rugby and have played since I was nine but I didn’t have that opportunity to play it at a young age. For young children to learn all these skills at didi rugby and catch the rugby bug is important.

World Cup winner

World Cup winner Sarah was awarded an MBE in 2016 for her services to the game and also became World Rugby Women’s Player of the Year in the same year.

More recently, she led England to a Six Nations Grand Slam last season, her latest medal in a glittering career.

“It was amazing that Sarah found the time to come and speak to our didi franchise holders at such a busy time for her,” said Vicky.

“She has always been a fantastic advocate of what we are trying to do and we are very grateful for her continued support not only to our classes but also our franchise holders and coaches who are implementing the vision we have to get children active while having fun and growing in confidence.”

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didi rugby founder Vicky Macqueen becomes an RFU Level 4 coach

didi rugby CEO Vicky Macqueen smiling after becoming an RFU Level 4 coach

The founder and CEO of didi rugby, Vicky Macqueen, has become an RFU Level 4 coach after 18 months of study.

It means she is one of less than 10 women in the country to hold such a prestigious coaching position, which is designed and delivered by the game’s governing body, the Rugby Union.

She joins fellow Level 4-holders Wasps director of rugby Giselle Mather and soon-to-be Exeter Chiefs Women’s head coach, Susie Appleby, who is also a didi rugby franchise holder.

Although Vicky said she would like to get involved in similar high-level coaching one day, she said her 100% commitment at the moment was to the continued growth of didi rugby.

And she believes that large parts of the information she learned studying to become an RFU Level 4 coach will help grow and improve didi rugby in the future.

“It has been an amazing process with so much to learn and I feel really privileged to have completed it,” said Vicky. “It has taught me a lot in terms of rugby leadership but for didi rugby too because there is lots of coaching, management and psychology involved.

Level 4 coach

“There are so many aspects to achieving Level 4 and it has been a great educational experience for me.

“There is a massive overlap between business and sport and this has bought everything together for me to help enhance didi rugby.

“The growth of didi means I need to be 100% involved in the business and the mentoring of franchise holders at the minute. But I love coaching and being out on the field so taking on a role with a club in the future in definitely in my sights…if I get the time!

Vicky was approached by the RFU to join their coach educator team a couple of years ago and that is another string to her bow in terms of helping and mentoring coaches of the future.

RFU Framework

She was also inviting to consult on the RFU’s Early Years Framework – released earlier in 2019 – to help clubs focus in on the best ways to develop children’s interest in the sport from a very young age.

didi rugby plays an active part in helping clubs implement that framework and has developed formal links with clubs in England to create a natural pathway for children to keep playing the game when they graduate from didi rugby age groups.

With Vicky designing all of the programmes and care at didi rugby, parents can be assured that their kids are in very good hands and are being taught all of the right things if they come to a didi rugby class.

Book your child in for a free taster session at a didi rugby class around the country: https://didirugby.com/find-a-class/

WATCH MORE: didi rugby’s Vicky Macqueen was thrilled to be invited to consult on the RFU’s Early Years Framework programme