One of the new faces in the Gloucester-Hartpury squad this summer is an individual who knows the area well. Cheltenham-born Millie Wood is a Hartpury graduate who is returning from international duties to play Tyrrells Premier 15s rugby for her local team.
Also educated at Bournside School and the University of Gloucestershire, there wasn’t the option for Millie to play top-flight rugby at the time so her rugby career took her away from the County.
However, now she’s back and couldn’t be happier to be back in familiar surroundings.
“It’s great to be back, I spent a lot of my early rugby career here, learning how to play, developing and I’ve been on quite a rugby journey since leaving here. But being back is great!
“When I first started to play rugby, I had to travel to Cirencester to find a team and they were joined with Supermarine in Swindon so some of my home games were actually quite far away.
“When I turned 18, I went and played for Worcester for a year, then moved on to Lichfield. Those clubs were great to me and I enjoyed my time there.
“But, now as I resume my Premiership career, I’ve got the option to play for Gloucester-Hartpury which, as a huge Gloucester Rugby fan, is almost a dream come true.”
A centre by trade and also capped at U20 level, Millie has spent the past few seasons with the England Sevens squad which she admits was quite some experience.
“I’ve been to some incredible places with the England Sevens team and I’m very grateful for all the opportunities I’ve been given. But this is another new opportunity and I’ll embrace it with open arms and see where it leads me and what sort of rugby player I can become.
“We (the Sevens squad) did come and watch quite a few games last season, I came to see Gloucester-Hartpury several times and Wasps was the closest team to where we were based.
“So, we kept in touch with the XVs game and watched it develop last season. It’s really exciting to come back and know that I’m stepping into something which is really going to take off. It’s such an exciting opportunity and I can’t wait to get out there.”