Rugby ace Amber turns professional
Published on: 30 Sep 2016
AMBER Reed, former Bromley Heath schoolgirl turned England rugby player, has more than one reason to celebrate.
She has just been named in England's Elite Player Squad for the 2016/17 season and is among 29 players who have been awarded the first ever 15-aside professional contracts.
The 54-player squad is split into full-time, part-time, short-term and non-contracted players, with Amber one of 18 players receiving a full-time contract.
Amber who was brought up in Fishponds where her mum still lives, was a member of the winning 2014 Women's Rugby World Cup squad after debuting for her country in 2012 against France.
The 25-year-old is now looking to her next challenge - the Old Mutual Wealth Series in November - and sees it as the perfect way for the squad to lay down a marker ahead of their World Cup defence in August 2017.
The side will first take on 2016 Six Nations title holders France at The Stoop on Wednesday November 9.
They will then face New Zealand, again at the Stoop, on Saturday November 19 before facing Canada at Twickenham a week later. In addition, the side with travel to Dublin, home of the 2017 Women’s Rugby World Cup, to face Ireland on Sunday November 13.
Amber said: “It’s a fantastic opportunity for us to kick off the year leading into the World Cup.
“It’s a very competitive autumn series with some of the best teams in the world so we are looking forward to the challenge.”
England Women lost to Canada in the July before avenging their Six Nations defeat to France with victory over them in the summer.
Amber herself topped a century of career Test points in that 17-13 win over France in the Rugby Super Series in Utah this July.
The Bristol Ladies player said a combination of preparation and being clinical will be crucial to them being successful in their November fixtures.
“It will be very physical," said Amber.
"There will be no easy fixture so we will have to be on top of our game for each one.
“We have something to prove against Canada and we are looking forward to putting in a solid performance in front of a home crowd.
“We managed to beat France for the first time in three years in the summer, having lost to them in the Six Nations decider, so it’s a massive opportunity to lay a marker going into the World Cup next year.
"I’d urge as many people as possible to get down to the matches and cheer us on."
Amber, who has 22 caps, also says home support can play a huge part in helping to inspire them to victory over the coming months.
“With the competitive nature of the teams we’re playing, it’s always fantastic to have home support. It does make a massive difference to the players on the pitch.
“As a player it gives you that extra bit of edge knowing you have the majority of the crowd on your side and I’d urge as many people as possible to get down to the matches and cheer us on.”