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Abbie Ward: Bump in the Road available on RugbyPass TV

BRISTOL, ENGLAND - MARCH 30: Abbie Ward of England celebrates with her daughter at full-time following the team's victory in the Guinness Women's Six Nations 2024 match between England and Wales at Ashton Gate on March 30, 2024 in Bristol, England. (Photo by Harry Trump - RFU/The RFU Collection via Getty Images)

From Friday 12th April, Abbie Ward: Bump in the Road will be available for free on RugbyPass TV worldwide.

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The groundbreaking documentary follows England and Bristol Bears lock Abbie Ward in her journey through pregnancy, motherhood, and returning to play after the birth of her daughter Hallie.

Ward played in her first match 17 weeks after giving birth when Bristol Bears hosted Sale Sharks in the opening round of the Premiership Women’s Rugby season in November 2023.

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Abbie Ward: Bump in the Road | trailer

Bump in the Road explores the challenges faced by professional female athletes and all working mothers, featuring England lock, Abbie Ward. Watch the full documentary on RugbyPass TV

Watch now

Video Spacer

Abbie Ward: Bump in the Road | trailer

Bump in the Road explores the challenges faced by professional female athletes and all working mothers, featuring England lock, Abbie Ward. Watch the full documentary on RugbyPass TV

Watch now

Before the match, she was able to walk onto the pitch at Ashton Gate with baby Hallie, and went on to score a try in Bristol’s 48-5 win.

Abbie’s husband Dave is the head coach of Bristol Bears Women, and features in the documentary with the unique perspective of husband, father, and coach. He said during the documentary: “For Hallie to grow up in an environment where women are doing amazing things in sport, it’s great.”

Abbie is the first player to benefit from the new RFU maternity policy which was introduced in 2023 and includes 26 weeks of fully paid leave.

She is by no means the first woman in rugby to become a mother, but the policy has allowed her to have a baby with the intention of returning to international rugby, and the support in place to do so.

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In the documentary, Bristol Bears teammate Simi Pam said: “I don’t think there’s been many women’s rugby players who have had children with the intention of coming back to perform at international level… Abbie is one of the pioneers.”

Ward made her England debut in 2015 against Wales and has won 63 caps for her country since, including two Rugby World Cups and multiple Six Nations. Following her return to play, she secured a place in the Red Roses squad for the 2024 Guinness Women’s Six Nations.

She said: “What’s most important to me is that my story can serve as an example for sportswomen in the future. I hope I can be a test case to show what’s possible for female athletes when they have great support around them during and after pregnancy.

“The world of women’s sport is changing rapidly, and enabling professional athletes to keep competing as mothers is another important milestone.”

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Sue Anstiss MBE, who directed the documentary, said: “It’s fantastic that we’re now seeing elite female athletes combining their sporting careers with motherhood – especially in sports like tennis, athletics and cycling. But it’s rarer to see this for sportswomen competing in team sports. The demanding nature of rugby, with its physical contact and impact, makes it all the more remarkable that Abbie would try to return to the sport professionally, so soon after she’d had her baby.

“I believe this film will transcend the world of sport, resonating with audiences everywhere, especially with women who face the societal challenge of balancing careers with motherhood.”

Ward is named to start in the second row for England’s third-round Women’s Six Nations match against Scotland this weekend, kicking off on Saturday 13th April at 14:15 BST.

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J
Jon 3 hours ago
Why Sam Cane's path to retirement is perfect for him and the All Blacks

> It would be best described as an elegant solution to what was potentially going to be a significant problem for new All Blacks coach Scott Robertson. It is a problem the mad population of New Zealand will have to cope with more and more as All Blacks are able to continue their careers in NZ post RWCs. It will not be a problem for coaches, who are always going to start a campaign with the captain for the next WC in mind. > Cane, despite his warrior spirit, his undoubted commitment to every team he played for and unforgettable heroics against Ireland in last year’s World Cup quarter-final, was never unanimously admired or respected within New Zealand while he was in the role. Neither was McCaw, he was considered far too passive a captain and then out of form until his last world cup where everyone opinions changed, just like they would have if Cane had won the WC. > It was never easy to see where Cane, or even if, he would fit into Robertson’s squad given the new coach will want to be building a new-look team with 2027 in mind. > Cane will win his selections on merit and come the end of the year, he’ll sign off, he hopes, with 100 caps and maybe even, at last, universal public appreciation for what was a special career. No, he won’t. Those returning from Japan have already earned the right to retain their jersey, it’s in their contract. Cane would have been playing against England if he was ready, and found it very hard to keep his place. Perform, and they keep it however. Very easy to see where Cane could have fit, very hard to see how he could have accomplished it choosing this year as his sabbatical instead of 2025, and that’s how it played out (though I assume we now know what when NZR said they were allowing him to move his sabbatical forward and return to NZ next year, they had actually agreed to simply select him for the All Blacks from overseas, without any chance he was going to play in NZ again). With a mammoth season of 15 All Black games they might as well get some value out of his years contract, though even with him being of equal character to Richie, I don’t think they should guarantee him his 100 caps. That’s not what the All Blacks should be about. He absolutely has to play winning football.

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