Swansea University Inspires Future Sports Scientists with Rugby World Cup Outreach Event

School pupils have been given an exclusive look into the science behind the Rugby World Cup at a special outreach event held by Swansea University.

Through engaging short talks and workshops, experts from Swansea University’s Department of Sport and Exercise Sciences shared how they apply their skills and knowledge in biomechanics, data science, psychology, physiology, strength and conditioning, and many more aspects crucial in high performance rugby.

On Monday 11 September, the University’s Bay Campus welcomed 80 secondary students from schools across the city, including Gower College, Morriston Comprehensive School, Bishop Vaughan Catholic School and Ysgol Gymraeg Ystalyfera Bro Dur.

Pupils participated in several interactive sessions, including measuring their kicking techniques using state-of-the-art wearable biomechanical technology and a Q&A with ex-Wales women’s captain Siwan Lillicrap, a graduate from the Department of Sport and Exercise Sciences and the former Head of Rugby at Swansea University.

Siwan said: “I saw the role of sports science grow during my playing career, and it was great to see girls and boys from schools across Swansea engaging with how they could apply their knowledge in science to a sport they all enjoy. It plays a vitally important part in sport from performance to health and wellbeing.”

Phil Jones, a PE teacher from Morriston Comprehensive School, said: “It’s fantastic to see Swansea University engage with the community by offering the young learners such an exciting pathway for the future.”

The event introduced students to the work of the Elite and Professional Sport (EPS) Research Group at Swansea University.

Renowned for its highly applied research, the EPS Group’s research has impacted the practices of domestic and international rugby teams, both in men’s and women’s rugby, with the Group recently having had three new research papers accepted for a Rugby World Cup special issue of the International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance.

The Group’s contributions have been pivotal in shaping preparations for, and at, the highest level of competition, the Rugby World Cup.

Two graduates from the MSc by Research programme and one from the BSc Sport and Exercise Science programme are currently working in scientific support roles at the Rugby World Cup in France.

Professor Neil Bezodis, Lead of the EPS Research Group at Swansea University, said: “We’re excited to have the opportunity to showcase a wide range of the excellent performance-focussed rugby research being conducted here in Swansea.

“We hope this event inspires some of the next generation of sports scientists and encourages them to become just as passionate as we are about how science is applied to rugby to support the world-class performances we’re already witnessing during the men’s Rugby World Cup in France.”

Study Sport and Exercise Science at Swansea University.

Find out more about how the EPS Research Group enhances the performance of elite and professional athletes.

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