Swansea University Rugby’s preparations for the 20th annual Welsh Varsity contest at the Liberty Stadium on Wednesday night has once again received a big helping hand from the Ospreys.
- Swansea University face Cardiff University at the Liberty Stadium on Wednesday night
- Ospreys who have studied at Swansea include Alun Wyn Jones, Rory Thornton, Jonathan Spratt and Ben Lewis
- The commercial relationship between the two organisations go from strength to strength, with the University's shirt sponsorship a visual sign of the partnership
In the build up to the big game against Cardiff University, Chris Gibbes has been spending time each week working with the University squad as they look to fine tune their game plan, following in the footsteps of a long line of coaches and players who have previously hit the training pitch at the University Playing Fields, Sketty Lane, ahead of what is the biggest student sporting event in Wales.
Gibbes’ involvement is the latest example of the long standing association between two of the most high profile organisations in Wales, one that has grown in recent years to see them become not just sporting associates but commercial partners as well.
Andrew Millward, Ospreys Managing Director, said:
“It’s fantastic to see Gibbo getting stuck in with the University team ahead of this week’s Varsity match, a clear sign of the fantastic relationship that is deeply entrenched within both organisations.
“As is fitting with two key organisations that have deep roots in the local community it’s important that we aren’t just supporting each other, we collaborate fully on a number of different projects that benefit not just the Ospreys or Swansea University. The positive effects stretch far wider.
“The most visible sign of our relationship is obviously the shirt sponsorship, with the University’s logo appearing on our jersey for the last two years but there is far more to it than just that. However, we understand how important Varsity is to the students which is why Gibbo has lent them a hand on the training pitch recently.
Alan Flowers, Swansea University’s Head Coach, said:
"It's been fantastic to have Chris with us. His experience and his enthusiasm has been huge for the team, and has benefited the players no end. Regardless of what happens on Wednesday night they are all better players for the experience of working with such a knowledgeable coach who has really inspired them.
"I know that all the players are really grateful for what he’s done with them and Leigh Davies (Assistant Coach) and myself would personally like to thank Chris for all his help."
The commercial and research partnership between the two organisations sees the region supporting the already successful rugby structure at the University by engaging sporting scholars with rugby experts.
In addition, a programme of research collaboration is well underway between the two bodies, not only on the pitch but also with students from the School of Management undertaking work experience within the commercial arm of the Ospreys business.
Rugby players at the University are also benefiting from nutritional testing and advice, sports psychology, lifestyle planning and strength and conditioning testing and coaching. Swansea University/Ospreys rugby scholarships are also available for potential students wishing to pursue a dual career path.
Further to that, the Ospreys are actively assisting the University’s overseas recruitment activity in territories as far flung as Canada, Georgia and South Africa, while the support is mutual, with over 200 students purchasing tickets for last week’s game against Benetton Treviso at the Liberty Stadium.
“Our relationship is going from strength to strength and both organisations are seeing real benefits from the collaboration. We wish the team all the best for Wednesday night at the Liberty.”