RUGBY WORLD: What is your role with England 2015?
Maggie Alphonsi: I’m an ambassador for the 2015 Rugby World Cup and my job is to promote the tournament.
RW: There’s still three years to go. What has happened so far?
MA: We’ve launched the tournament now and moved into our new building at Twickenham. Now’s the start of a lot of prep work. There are only three people working on it at the moment, but by 2015 there will be over 100.
RW: If your house was on fire, what three things would you save?
MA: That’s not a very nice question! Assuming my mum wasn’t in it, a picture of my family, my certificates and records of achievements, such as my degree, and my acoustic guitar.
RW: What three things would you like to see happen in rugby by 2015?
MA: First, I’d like to see rugby become the dominant sport in England and be the first thing you see on the back pages. Second, we need to get even more people involved in the game if we’re going to leave a legacy after the tournament. We need more players, coaches, volunteers. Lastly, I’d like rugby to be seen as a genderless sport, for the women’s game to be treated the same as the men’s. It should be appreciated for the athletes and people involved.
RW: Looking forward to the Six Nations?
MA: Very much. We beat the Black Ferns in the November series so now we’re looking for a new challenge. We’re six-times Grand Slam champions, and when you’re at the top, people are always looking to knock you down.
RW: Who are the jokers in the England squad?
MA: Heather Fisher, she always picks on me. Amy Turner has the ability to make people laugh. And Rochelle Clark, a close friend.
RW: What’s the funniest thing you’ve seen on the pitch?
MA: It was in a blokes’ game. Someone took a drop-goal attempt and completely missed, and the ball hit a bird!
RW: Any phobias?
MA: Spiders. I know that doesn’t make me look very tough!
RW: And bugbears?
MA: It’s irritating when people aren’t polite. And when you’re driving and cars behind you are tailgating. White-van drivers are the worst.
RW: If you could have one superpower what would it be?
MA: To make people know when they’d done something bad in a diplomatic way.
RW: What’s your idea of a dream holiday?
MA: As long as I’m with the people I love I’ll go anywhere.
RW: What couldn’t you live without?
MA: Bread – always wholemeal to be healthy. In the supermarket I’ll go straight to the bakery section, get a fresh loaf and some houmous, and that’s my lunch.
RW: What’s the silliest thing you’ve bought?
MA: A fridge magnet from Amsterdam with a windmill on it. Who needs that?!
RW: How do you switch off from rugby?
MA: I have to take myself out of the sport as it’s easy to stay switched on all the time. I chill out with friends and music.
RW: Who would be your dream three dinner-party guests?
MA: Muhammad Ali, a legend who I admire. Lance Armstrong, another great athlete. And (ex-Rugby World editor) Paul Morgan, as he’s good fun, especially after a few beers!
RW: Any regrets?
MA: No. You make your choices and the mistakes I’ve made have led me to where I am.
RW: What would you like to achieve outside of rugby?
MA: I’d love to manage big projects, a bit like Paul Vaughan (CEO of England Rugby 2015).
RW: How would you like to be remembered?
MA: As a good athlete, and as someone who made women’s rugby better known.
Hear from Maggie below on her achievements in the sport:
This article appeared in the March 2012 issue of Rugby World Magazine.
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