By Elise Hamersley, Sportsbeat

Whether teaching someone how to brush their teeth again or creating opportunities on the rugby pitch, Rachel Lund’s goal is to make an impact. 

The Gloucester-Hartpury centre and Worcester Acute Hospitals physiotherapist is one of the defending Allianz Premiership Women’s Rugby champions’ longest-serving players and has balanced her two careers since joining the club in 2017.

After five years as a sports therapist at Hartpury College, Lund made the decision to switch to NHS physiotherapy over two years ago.

“There was more opportunity to make a meaningful difference,” the 29-year-old explained.

“There is a satisfaction in rehabbing someone’s knee and helping them get back on a rugby pitch, but now I’m helping people that have had major medical surgeries reinstate quality of life, get them back to independence, life-altering things.”

Lund’s role on the field and her work in hospitals have more in common than might be expected.

“In a nutshell, you have to be a really good motivator, an educator and coach as a physio,” she said.

“You can take people from diagnosis right through to discharge and you get invested in people.

“Ultimately, you’re the person they build trust with at an incredibly vulnerable moment in their lives.

“Even something as simple as teaching someone how to brush their teeth again or brush their hair. That tiny piece of independence is really impactful.

“You take these stories and people and carry them with you.”

Ealing Times:

Carrying experiences from work into training is common at Gloucester-Hartpury, where the club is split between professionals with international contracts and those who have what the club calls ‘dual-careers’. 

“It acknowledges what we’re doing – trying to maintain professional rugby careers alongside another profession,” Lund said.

“At Gloucester we’ve got police officers, teachers, NHS professionals, a whole group of people that finish a day’s work and come to train for three hours.

“It's hard work but I don’t ever call things like that a sacrifice.

“I don’t think I make sacrifices, I make choices based on my sport and that I love my job. I want to be able to do both for as long as I can.

“We do it because we love it.”

Having now played for over 20 years, Lund can see the progress in the women’s game and the importance of being a positive role model for those who were in her position.

“The accessibility young players have now to see female players as role models is worlds apart from when I was their age,” she said.

“That’s why it’s so important as players to take photos and sign autographs after games because that just never happened when we were kids.

“We never got to watch women play because it just wasn’t on our doorstep.”

Lund helped Gloucester-Hartpury start the defence of their crown with a 52-14 win over Leicester Tigers on Saturday and next up is a derby clash at Bristol Bears under Friday night lights.

“We’re going to have targets on our back and people are going to want to say they’ve beaten the league champions," she said.

“It was a bit of a fairy-tale season last year for us and a very special one.

“But that’s what we achieved last year. Because we tasted success we’re now more hungry than ever to back it up again with another championship.”

Keep up with all the news from Premiership Women's Rugby at