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Welsh rugby legend launches new sports programme at University of South Wales

02 Feb 2023 2 minute read
Sam Warburton launches the new programme at USW

A Welsh rugby legend has launched a new sport programme that will enhance student performance at the University of South Wales.

Sam Warburton, former captain of the Wales and British Lions rugby union teams announced the new high-performance 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.

It’s hoped the programme will help students to train and compete at the highest levels whilst studying.


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.

The university has appointed three sports performance managers to oversee the programme – Director of Rugby at Pontypridd RFC, Justin Burnell, Andy Whittington who worked on athlete development for nine years at Cardiff City Football Club and Wales International and Celtic Dragons Netball player, Philippa Yarranton.

Dr Ben Calvert, Vice-Chancellor of USW, said: “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.”

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