Well qualified in and out of rugby, Margaret Alphonsi, known as ‘Maggie the Machine’, was appointed MBE last June in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list. She was honoured for her Services to Rugby; she has amassed 63 England caps, played in two XVs World Cups and in 2012 shared in a record-breaking seventh consecutive Six Nations title and a sixth Grand Slam in seven years.
Maggie, who reached the 25-try landmark for England in glorious style during the 10-0 triumph over New Zealand, the World Champions at Twickenham in November 2011, works for the Youth Sport Trust as an Athlete Mentor Manager.
Her scoring exploits include two touchdowns off the bench against Scotland in March 2011 and others against the United States and three against Canada in the Nations Cup the following August. She celebrated her first start in the 2012 Six Nations Championship series by helping England to beat France 15-3 in Paris and also wore the No. 7 jersey when the Grand Slam was completed against Ireland at Esher.
She obtained a MSc in Sports & Exercise at Roehampton University, a BSc in the same subjects at De Montfort University in Bedford and a BTEC National Diploma in Leisure Studies at Hertford Regional College, Ware. Maggie also has an honorary degree from De Montfort for services to rugby and has been named as one of the ambassadors for the 2015 RWC, along with Jonny Wilkinson, Lawrence Dallaglio and Will Greenwood.
Maggie is also an ambassador for the RFU’s Injured Players Foundation, a Patron of Sporting Equals and does charity work for SKRUM. She has been the vice-captain of Saracens and England and previously attended Edmonton-based Eldon Primary School and Salisbury Secondary School, where she was introduced to the game at the age of 14.
It launched a glittering career that includes being named as the 2006 IRB Player of the Year, the 2010 Sunday Times Sportswoman of the Year and becoming the first woman to win the Rugby Union Writers’ Club prestigious Pat Marshall award in 2011. Her lesser known talents include playing the acoustic guitar.
As for her most memorable game, Maggie said: “The 2010 World Cup final was an amazing experience – to play in front of a huge crowd in a good stadium.”