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Sam Warburton leads the pack as international rugby learning partnership kicks off

Rugby star Sam Warburton and Welsh Government minister Ken Skates AM have teamed up to launch a unique international collaboration between the University of South Wales and Setanta College in Ireland.

Wales's largest university and Setanta, one of the leading providers of education in the field of strength and conditioning, have designed two new courses which take advantage of the superb facilities, experience and internet-based resources both institutions have to offer.

Wales and British and Irish Lions captain Sam Warburton is currently studying for a Certificate of HE in Strength and Conditioning with Setanta College, but now has the best of both worlds as he can continue to learn online, or attend lectures given by USW's and Setanta's internationally-respected academic staff in Wales.

"It’s a perfect mix for me. The information from Setanta College is online every week and includes video tutorials and online assignments,” said Sam.

“During the week I may be chock-a-block with rugby, but I may have a day off on Sunday and I have a study day to catch up.

“Now, with the University of South Wales so close to my home, some material will be delivered in the gym or the lab so, for me, it’s the perfect combination.”

Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism, Ken Skates AM, was shown the facilities at the USW Sport Park, where teams such as the New Zealand’s All Blacks, South Africa’s Springboks, and Australia’s rugby union Wallabies nation side train for international games.

The Deputy Minister said:

“This is a fantastic development for the University of South Wales which further enhances its reputation as an internationally-respected institution for sports science and will help to meet the demand in this field.

“Widening participation in sport and increasing the number of sports coaches and elite athletes in Wales is one of our key priorities. Sport and physical activity not only bring health benefits to the nation but also economic benefits, attracting tourism through the hosting of major events.

“It is important that we continue to capitalise on this and I wish both Setanta College and University of South Wales every success with this exciting new venture.”

USW Setanta College partnership - Ken Skates AM

Setanta and USW will offer a Certificate of HE and a degree in strength and conditioning and the courses can either be studied online or in person.

The online resources provided by Setanta College are particularly attractive to professional athletes, either for improving their own performance, or planning for a career after competing.

They are delivered by Setanta’s own internationally-renowned academics, including former Director of Fitness for the Irish Rugby Football Union, and now Academic Director for Setanta College, Dr Liam Hennessy:

“It's a privilege to collaborate with USW in delivering this unique strength and conditioning programme of studies.

“While strength and conditioning is commonly linked with sport and, in particular, elite sport, the potential for strength and conditioning careers, working with all age groups and a variety of populations, makes a strength and conditioning career a very exciting one.

“The partnership in itself adds to the possibilities and opportunities for new students and graduates alike.”

USW Setanta College partnership signing

The partnership also means both institutions can explore and develop their key contacts within major sports organisations around the world to further enhance the expertise and experience offered to students. Those organisations include World Rugby (formerly IRB), the Titleist Performance Institute and the Welsh Rugby Players’ Association.

“We are delighted with this collaboration with Setanta College as it combines their internationally renowned industry professionals with our own to ensure our courses reflect the very latest methods being used by multiple sporting organisations around the globe,” said Prof Julie Lydon OBE, Vice-Chancellor of the University of South Wales.

“I would, in particular like to welcome Sam Warburton back to USW. As an honorary fellow of the University of South Wales, his passion for sport and desire to learn and develop is inspirational for others, including professional athletes, thinking about their own futures.”


Both the Certificate of HE in Strength and Conditioning, and BSc (Hons) Strength and Conditioning courses are open for applications.