England Women's and Bristol Bears' player Amber Reed started her England career back in 2011 when she was selected for the England Women U20s squad. Amber was part of the 2017 and 2018 Six Nations squads and won the Womens Rugby World Cup with England in 2014. Amber also competed in the first England women vs Barbarians match at Twickenham Stadium in June 2019.
The Red Roses Gilbert Ambassador has recently been selected for the Super Series 2019 in San Diego, but before she jetted off to the USA, we caught up with her about life as a rugby player.
What does rugby mean to you?
Rugby has been a huge part of my life for the last 14 years. It is a fraction of what defines me as a person and something that has taught me a lot of lessons over the years. I’ve been challenged through the ups a downs from winning a world cup to multiple injuries. Built my resilience, travelled the world and met some of my best mates in the process. Through my job as a PE teacher and as an International rugby player I also take pride in inspiring the next generation of players to take up the game.
When was the first time you picked up a rugby ball? Where were you, who with and why?
The first time I picked up a rugby ball was at Colston’s School, Bristol and I would have never believed it would have taken me on the journey it has. In my early years I played football with the boys at Junior School and then continued for a few more years in the Bristol Rovers Academy until the age of 14 when I decided I wanted a new challenge.
Colston’s provided me with this opportunity as Mr Berry ran a girls’ rugby club during lunchtimes. Rugby has always been in my life from a young age; spending numerous hours watching my Dad and younger brother play at the local rugby club. My Uncle Andrew also played for Scotland and the British & Irish Lions. I played a few games for Thornbury RFC in my teens but didn’t start playing club rugby, until, when at 18 years old, I joined Bristol Ladies, now Bristol Bears Women, the club where I now play in the Tyrrells Premier 15s.
What is your general pre-game routine?
Wake up and grab some breakfast which is usually porridge, banana & protein powder. Always have to start the day with a good flat white too! For internationals I chill out until lunch (3pm fixture), watch a film with my roomie, listen to some music or play the ukulele. If it’s a Bristol game I may have to work and referee / umpire a rugby or netball fixture before heading to the ground. During this time I will also pack my bag and clean my boots. I lay out all of my kit in piles of the bed and always pack my shirt last so it is last and have to have clean boots.
Travel to the game I’ll listen to my playlist, mostly consisting of some chase & status. At the ground I usually listen to the team music in the changing room, get into my warm-up kit and keep topping up with snacks and water to make sure I’m ready to go.