Doctor Louise in the fast lane
ALL-ACTION Woodbridge teacher Louise Rickard lives life in the fast lane. On Sunday she will win her 52nd cap playing rugby for Wales in Spain, later that evening will appear on national television in a gruelling SAS challenge, and on Monday will be back in the classroom in Woodbridge School, Suffolk, teaching biology.
ALL-ACTION Woodbridge teacher Louise Rickard lives life in the fast lane.
On Sunday she will win her 52nd cap playing rugby for Wales in Spain, later that evening will appear on national television in a gruelling SAS challenge, and on Monday will be back in the classroom in Woodbridge School, Suffolk, teaching biology.
But for the 31-year-old, the hectic lifestyle is one she relishes. She said: "Teaching is my job and I love it here at Woodbridge School where everybody is so supportive of me. But I am just waiting for somebody to present me with another challenge to do."
Despite being head of biology and having a full teaching timetable each week, she still finds time to train in various sports before another weekend of travelling and playing rugby.
Dr Rickard, who lives in Ipswich, took up rugby for a new challenge when she became bored with hockey, which she played while studying in Wales.
She wanted to play in the blue and white colours of Sudbury women's team – ''It is the best club in East Anglia and I remain loyal to it'' – and quickly became a try-scoring outside centre.
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It was not long before the Welsh selectors came knocking at the door of the 5ft 7ins tall player. Dr Rickard, who qualifies for the country through her grandmother's birthplace, was first picked in 1993 against Canada. She has also represented Wales at karate.
Her 22 tries in 51 internationals make her possibly the highest scoring Welsh female rugby player and now Dr Rickard is aiming to become the most capped player. Lisa Burgess, still playing at 36, has a record 70 caps.
The women's game has grown so much that the internationals come thick and fast every season with warm-up games, the Six Nations Championships and in May Dr Rickard will be in Spain for the World Cup.
Every Saturday she trains in Cardiff with the squad, plays for Sudbury on the Sunday, and spends the working week fitting in gym sessions, aerobics, athletics and rugby training around her lessons.
Dr Rickard was nominated for a new BBC television series and, after completing a fitness test and interview, she was judged suitable for a 12-day adventure in Scotland. But she was kept in the dark about the exact nature of the series and the only information she was given was to ''pack what you think you might need".
She joined a group of 29 people, including six women. Triathletes, adventure racers, ultra fit gym enthusiasts, rugby players and firemen were among the group embarking on the entry requirements for the SAS.
Dr Rickard said enjoyed all the fun including free fall parachuting, gutting and eating venison, and swimming 1.5km in kit.
But did she survive the rigorous training and is she tough enough to join the SAS? The series, SAS, Are You Tough Enough?, starts on Sunday on BBC2 at 9pm.