On Saturday 27th January, Miles Reid realised a lifelong dream. Born and bred in the city, the 20 year-old made his debut for Bath Rugby in the Anglo-Welsh Cup.
His first outing in the Blue, Black and White was the culmination of six years working his with through the Bath Rugby pathway. Reid followed the likes of Charlie Ewels, Tom Ellis, Zach Mercer and Beno Obano, who have made the transition from the Senior Academy to earning their first team stripes.
Last weekend marked another milestone for the back rower as he made his first appearance in the Gallagher Premiership against Saracens. Despite facing a wealth of international talent, Reid looked every bit the part, as he mixed it with the best in the closing 20 minutes of the encounter at Allianz Park.
“I obviously played last year, but playing the Premiership was something else,” Reid admits. “It was another step up playing Saracens, the best team in the country it was a really special day for me. I only got 20 minutes - I didn’t want the game to end, but I’ve got so much hunger for more.
It was great to have all my family there. They’ve done a lot for me, carting me around the country, so it was nice to give something back.”
Bath boasts a wealth of riches in the back row, something which continues to drive Reid’s development not only as a player, but as a person too.
“I think I take a bit of everything from the players around me. With Zach (Mercer) and Toby (Faletau) they’re really good with ball in hand and that’s their speciality. You’ve then got the likes of Francois (Louw), Tommy Ellis and Sam (Underhill) turning over ball and making a nuisance for the attacking team. It’s taking a bit of all their games and making it into your own. If you utilise them and ask the right questions, you can become very well rounded as a player.”
Reid is combining his rugby career with a Sports Performance degree at the University of Bath and the partnership has given him numerous opportunities to grow, appearing in the BUCS Super Rugby Competition, but also away from playing through his studies.
Living in the confines of Bath Rugby’s training ground, Reid is one of those in the Academy setup who is benefitting from on and off the field development to a level that the Club has never done before.
Reid explains: “If someone was to tell me that there’s a better facility than this in the country, I’d be pretty shocked. Living here at Farleigh feels like the norm, as the surroundings let you chill out, but when you need to switch on, it helps you do that.
“The work that the Club do with the University of Bath is great. We’re different from other students that we’ve got training here all the time, so they understand that. When you’ve had a long day of rugby, you need to compartmentalise things. Studying at the University, it does help you switch your mind off rugby, whilst at the same time you get a degree out of it.”
Academy Manager, Andy Rock adds: “We really want to invest in them learning on and off the field getting to know themselves. There are guys like Miles that commit to that process – they go to University and that helps them to stay focused on learning quickly when they come into our environment.”
In his own words, Miles describes himself as ‘a strong and powerful player with ball in hand, who brings a physical and aggressive edge in defence, playing for a purpose close to his heart.’ Those qualities have been seen in abundance during his outings for Bath Rugby and Bath United echoed by Rock.
“Miles possesses key attributes as a player, and characteristics as a person that are highly valued by the Bath Rugby,” Rock admitted. “His ability to generate momentum as a ball carrier, to beat players and get behind the defensive line has really come to light in both training and in game situations. His desire to stop the opposition and win the ball back is a feature of his game, and can no doubt progress in the coming season.
“These qualities that Miles possesses on the field that are reinforced by his commitment to learning and improvement off it, and due to this, he has a capacity to develop as a player very quickly. He is a young player with some big potential, and who is at the start of an exciting journey that could see him reach the very top of the professional game.”
Quietly spoken, but hugely driven, the goal for Reid is clear to see which is to follow the likes of John Horton, Phil Hall, Nigel Redman and Andy Nicol into Bath Rugby folklore.
“I just want to be one of those iconic Bath players that stand out when you think of Bath, that’s always an aspiration.”