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Wales rugby legend launches new sport programme at USW

SAM Warburton, former captain of the Wales and British Lions rugby union teams announced USW’s new high-performance sport programme, at an event last week.

USW Honorary Fellow, Sam, was joined by Dawn Bowden MS, Deputy Minister for Arts and Sport, and Chief Whip, who opened the event.

The focus of the new programme is to enhance the student experience by providing a high-performance environment for USW students whilst they continue to play football, rugby, or netball, at a high level. It has been designed to offer elite athletes, or those aspiring to compete at national or international level, a host of support services that will:

  • Enable them to continue to train and compete at the highest level while studying
  • Provide the best support and training environment for students
  • Increase the performance levels of athletes
  • Deliver an athlete-centred care service

Instrumental in supporting the programme are USW’s partners, including the Football Association of Wales, Wales Netball, Pontypridd Rugby, and Pontypridd United Football club. These are important in providing outlets for our high performing athletes to play and develop.

The athletes will have the expertise and facilities to create an environment to help them thrive. Each high-performance sport will have a dedicated team of coaches and support staff who will work closely with them to allow athletes to achieve the highest possible standards.

To this end, USW has appointed three Sport Performance Managers:

Justin Burnell has been appointed as Rugby Performance Manager (Men’s and Women’s). He is the current Director of Rugby at Pontypridd RFC. He is a highly qualified rugby coach with vast experience of leading high-performance environments.

Andy Whittington is USW’s Football Performance Manager (Men’s and Women’s). He left Cardiff City Football Club after nine years of leading their Performance Department where he was responsible for the athlete development for the players within the Academy U9’s and U23’s.

Wales International and Celtic Dragons Netball player and qualified coach, Philippa Yarranton, has been appointed as Netball Performance Manager.

Dr Ben Calvert, Vice-Chancellor of USW, said: “We are proud and excited to be launching our high-performance sport programme here at the University of South Wales. The University has supported some notable sporting alumni over the years.

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“We are passionate about all our students having a fantastic all-round student experience and, in addition to supporting their academic studies through high quality learning and teaching, it is equally important that we support their physical health and well-being. Whilst the focus of today is to launch our high-performance sport programme, we are equally committed to ensuring that all our students can participate in sport and physical activity at any level, whether this be to participate socially with friends or have ambitions to compete at the highest level.”

Dawn Bowden MS, Deputy Minister for Arts and Sport, and Chief Whip, said: “The Welsh Government’s ambition is to create the optimum environment for an inclusive sport system and a successful sporting nation – and our universities, colleges and schools are important contributors and partners in delivering that ambition.  I’m sure that current and future students will reap the benefits of this programme, I wish the team well and congratulate all involved on their vision and commitment to delivering this programme.”