England legend Maggie Alphonsi wants to empower more women through the power of rugby.

The Rugby World Cup winner is working with HITZ, a national scheme that uses the sport to inspire and motivate young adults to get back into education or employment.

And as someone who knows better than most how rugby can transform lives, Alphonsi praised the Land Rover backed programme for showing young women that they can achieve anything they want.

“What I love most about the HITZ programme is that it uses rugby to work with disengaged young people, it gives them confidence, it instills good values as well,” she said.

“It allows them to believe that they can whatever they want and I think it’s quite a powerful programme that helps young people to get on the pathway to success.

“Rugby pretty much changed my life in terms of giving me good values, discipline, respect, teamwork and I think it brings that to the young people involved in the HITZ programme.

“They learn to be more respectful, they learn to be more disciplined and they learn to work together and work with people that they never worked with before.”

The social inclusion programme is run by all 12 Premiership Rugby clubs, using rugby to encourage young adults to engage with education, employment and vocational training. 

Alphonsi has been mentoring Jade Whale, who has been working with Bath Rugby to achieve her coaching qualification.

“Jade’s story inspires me so much, to think that’s she’s come from not being very confident to working her way through the HITZ programme and developing her confidence,” she added.

“Now she’s playing rugby at Bath and working for the Bath Rugby Foundation and to me that’s absolutely brilliant, that story in itself can inspire so many people.

“I know that she’ll continue to keep pushing on because like anything, the best inspirational leaders out there are the ones who don’t just stop at good, they keep going to achieve excellence.”

  • Maggie Alphonsi is a Land Rover Ambassador. Land Rover is a key partner of HITZ, the sport for change programme that uses rugby to motivate young adults. Follow @LandRoverRugby