Abbie Ward will leave Allianz Premier 15s champions Harlequins to move west to Bristol Bears ahead of the 2021-22 season.
The England lock joined Harlequins in 2017 from DMP Sharks and quickly went on to become a senior figure within the perennial title-challenger’s pack.
Capped 47 times by the Red Roses, Ward will join the new project at Bristol Bears headed by partner Dave Ward following the departure of Kim Oliver in January.
“I joined Quins back in 2017 and for me it was the best Women’s rugby programme in the country,” said Ward.
“Over the last four seasons I have played with some absolutely amazing players and that has been proved with the number of international caps earned by the players within the current squad.
“To be leaving Quins having won the Allianz Premier 15s title is absolutely amazing so a huge thank you to everyone behind the scenes at Harlequins who enabled us to fulfil our dream.”
Head Coach Gerard Mullen is thankful for Ward’s efforts at Quins and wishes her the best of the luck in the rest of her career.
“Abbie has been a big part of the Club over the last few years. She has shown strong leadership qualities and has been a valuable member of the squad.
“We’ve always had a very strong set piece and Abbie’s played a huge role in that being successful, leading us to silverware this season. Everyone at Quins wishes Abbie and her husband Dave the very best of luck over at Bristol Bears.”
Bears head coach Dave Ward said: “We are delighted to add a player of Abbie’s quality to the squad ahead of the upcoming campaign. Her skillset in loose combined with her dominance at the lineout makes her fantastic addition to our forward pack.
“She has an abundance of experience having competed on the international stage with England and she knows what it takes to become a champion, which will help cultivate our winning mentality here at Bears Women.”