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The University of Southampton
Health Sciences

Southampton physiotherapy students get a feel for the New Zealand Defence Rugby team

Published: 18 December 2015
University of Southampton students
Our physiotherapy students working on the players’ with Team Physio Tamsin Mafi.

Physiotherapy students at the University of Southampton gained valuable hands on practical and teaching experience working with the New Zealand Defence Rugby team, the Defence Blacks squad, during the recent International Defence Rugby Competition, at the team’s base on HMS Sultan in Gosport.

The New Zealand squad was over in the UK playing in the Competition, which ran in parallel with the Rugby World Cup in the host’s nation.

This fantastic opportunity allowed our undergraduate and postgraduate students to work with an international sports team alongside some very respected and well-connected individuals. These included Staff Sergeant Davey Forbes who previously worked with the Manu Samoa and NZ Women’s 7s teams, as well as the Super 15s Highlanders and Hurricanes teams, both of which include All Blacks’ in their line-ups.

Through this opportunity our students were able to practise some important techniques and received valuable education from the squad’s Team Physiotherapist, Tamsin Mafi, and other trainers.

Tamsin demonstrated appropriate strapping techniques to the students, and the trainers provided excellent information on how physiotherapy integrates with the wider sports Science team in rehabilitation, or keeping the players fit and healthy during their gruelling tour.

The NZDF team has now returned to New Zealand, but were extremely pleased with the work of our Southampton physiotherapy students. They were very appreciative of the help from the University and spoke highly of the professionalism and high quality of care they received.

University of Southampton students and alumni were presented with signed NZDF shirts in thanks for their support.

Dr Danielle Lambrick, a lecturer in Life Sciences in the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University, who arranged the opportunity, said: “This was such an amazing experience for our students and one which they are already benefitting from. We are really please the team finished their competition in a fantastic fourth place, and were able to watch their home country All Blacks’ team win in the Rugby World Cup at Twickenham!”

Luke Parsons, a physiotherapy student who volunteered for the opportunity to work on the team, said: “The opportunity to work with the NZDF team was an incredibly valuable and enjoyable experience. It was a privilege to be able to see into the various back room workings of the high performance sports model and the stresses and strains that are put upon the rehab team. Gaining hands on experience with high level athletes and learning from the experience of the full time staff are things that just cannot be gained in the classroom.

“The players and staff were so welcoming and grateful for the help and it was rewarding to know that we may have played even a small part in the successes of the team throughout the tournament. The chance to gain this type of experience will be invaluable in strengthening my CV and I would highly recommend gaining hands on experience.”

Notes for editors

International Defence Rugby Competition:

Teams involved in the competition include South Africa, Australia, Tonga, Georgia, Japan, France, UK and Canada among others. Some of the teams are composite defence force teams, while the larger Nations, such as the UK, have one for each of the Forces.

You can follow the New Zealand Defence Team, the Defence Blacks, here.


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