Durham University Economics graduate Claudia Macdonald has enjoyed a meteoric rise through the rugby ranks since first picking up a ball aged 19 .
“I only started playing when I went to University, and I’m still not entirely sure what made me rock up at my first college session, but it’s a decision I’ll never regret," said Macdonald.
Claudia went on to captain Durham University Women’s Rugby Football Club 1st XV and 1st sevens sides for the season 2017-18, joining Tyrrells Premier 15s side Darlington Mowden Park Sharks to make her debut in September 2017. And while she started in the back line, she is now more likely to be seen at scrum half.
Having moved to Wasps FC Ladies for the 2018-19 season, she joins the England Women EPS for the first time. Born in Epsom, her family moved to Dubai in 2008 for four years as her father Roger pursued a job there in property development. Whilst in Dubai, her brother Alex represented the Arabian Gulf side. Older brother Seb MacDonald also played overseas, with Swieqi Overseas Rugby Club in Malta.
A PADI-qualified rescue scuba diver, Claudia completed her studies at St John’s School, Leatherhead, where she played a variety of sports including netball, tennis and hockey.
Of those who have helped her understand the fundamentals of the game, she says: “When I started at Durham, my first ever captain Mim Smith was amazing and taught me all the basics. She made us work hard, and was always running extra sessions whilst studying herself. Mike Umaga and Justin Loveridge at Sharks were certainly instrumental in increasing my knowledge of the game so I could step up to TP15s.”