Southern Academy of Sport helping unleash Bath Rugby Women's 7s potential

19 May 2023

Bath Rugby Women's 7s are back for another summer of elite 7s rugby and are taking Southern Academy of Sport with them on their journey. 

The Chippenham-based outfit supported the Women's 7s team during their debut season in 2022 and has partnered with Bath Rugby for a second year to offer its services to best-support the team as they head around the country competing on the elite 7s tournament circuit. 

The Academy’s experience is vast, having helped athletes from local to international, varying from Bath Rugby Academy Pathway players, Olympic and Commonwealth athletes and professional mixed martial artists. 

Southern Academy of Sport recognises that preparation for sports performance goes far beyond training, and helps athletes make positive changes in their health, lifestyle and preparation through the four foundations of performance: Movement, Mindset, Recovery and Nutrition. 

For Bath Rugby Women's 7s, this means accompanying the team during training sessions, and heading out with them onto the 7s circuit to tournaments such as Bournemouth and London International Sevens. 

Director of Southern Academy of Sport, Joe Alford, said: "Our role is to support the squad to perform at their physical best and reduce their risk of injuries. We do this through taking an individualised approach, including performance testing, screening and athletic development programming for all players. This includes both gym and field-based work, as well as supporting squad sessions and tournaments, including warm ups, hydration and nutrition support and recovery management.

"We've also been working hard with the squad on athlete education, particularly considerations for female athletes, helping the players better understand the effects of the menstrual cycle on training and performance. 

"Our experience with Bath Rugby Women's 7s last season was great and something I wanted to take on again as we saw the benefit, both on and off the pitch, of having professional support throughout training and tournaments.

"We had a longer run up to the 7s season this year, so the squad feel better prepared and we've definitely seen improvement across the first two tournaments.

"Women's sport, including rugby, is undergoing such exciting growth at the moment and it's very exciting to be a part of Bath Rugby’s mission to bring professional women’s rugby to the city.

"With that growth comes the need to provide the best support services possible to female athletes, as there are different considerations compared to the men's squad, both physiologically and the fact the squad are a part-time outfit. Most of the players work or are at university completing their studies, alongside pursing high performance rugby. 

"We're really proud to be leading that support and contributing to the club on their journey to set up a world-class women's programme. I've been a Bath Rugby fan since childhood, went to school in Bath and was part of the Bath Rugby Academy, so the project is very close to my heart." 

Southern Academy of Sport's extensive team support Bath Rugby on their 7s journey covering all aspects of athlete support, from speed development to injury rehabilitation.   

Of their involvement, Head Coach of the team and Bath Rugby's Women and Girls' Rugby Development Lead, Maria Crowfoot, said: "We're really grateful for Southern Academy of Sport's help this summer. 

"The conditioning and physio side of things are just as important to skills and strategy. We were hit with quite a few injuries going into the first tournament at EggChaser 7s so having Joe and his Academy team working so closely with our physios has been crucial to rehab.

"We have the weekend off so although we're still focused on training and building on our performances, we're able to rest before heading to Bournemouth next weekend, which I know the team are stoked for."

Bath Rugby Women's 7s will be back out on their elite run next week when they head to Bournemouth Sevens for one of the biggest festivals of the summer. 



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