Ground-breaking documentary ‘Abbie Ward: Bump in the Road’ will be available to watch for free worldwide on RugbyPass TV from 07:00 GMT on Friday, 12 April.

Bump in the Road follows Red Roses star Abbie Ward as she embarks on her journey through pregnancy, begins life as a mother and returns to the pitch after the birth of daughter Hallie.


Ward played and scored for Bristol Bears Women only 17 weeks after giving birth to Hallie, helping her club-mates to a 48-5 victory against Sale Sharks at Ashton Gate in the opening round of the 2023-24 Premiership Women’s Rugby season.

“I want to be a world-class player. I want to be a world-class mum,” she says during the documentary. “The challenge is, can you be both?”

Ward’s husband and club head coach Dave appears in the documentary, in which he said: “For Hallie to grow up in an environment where women are doing amazing things in sport, it’s great.”

Ward became the first player to benefit from the Rugby Football Union’s new maternity policy last year, which includes 26 weeks of leave on full pay.

That policy has given the Bristol Bears second-row the support to do what few elite rugby-playing mothers have done in the past and target a return to the test stage from the outset of her pregnancy.

“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,” Bristol Bears team-mate Simi Pam says in the documentary.

“Abbie is one of the pioneers.”

Ward, who has appeared at two Women’s Rugby World Cups and has 63 England caps to her name, made her return to the Red Roses squad at the start of the Guinness Women’s Six Nations 2024.

She has been selected to start the third-round match against Scotland at a sold-out Hive Stadium on Saturday.

Ward 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.”

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.”