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Today and Tomorrow (30th & 31st of Jan 2014) will see the Federation of Oceania Rugby Unions (FORU) hosting the region’s first Sport Science Sport Medicine (SSSM) Conference for leading Rugby sports scientists and sports medicine experts at a two-day conference in Nadi, Fiji. This is a result of FORU’s strategic partnership with Oceania National Committees (ONOC) and the International Rugby Board.

“Both ONOC and the IRB are committed to rolling out the latest educational programmes in the important areas of sports science and sports medicine across Fiji and throughout the region,” said IRB High Performance Manager (Asia Pacific), Peter Horne.

“The conference is a part of the IRB’s ongoing investment in the region. From 2009 and 2012 the IRB invested nearly £16million in Pacific Islands Rugby. It is forecast that a further £19 million will be invested between 2013 and 2016 in Rugby development, high-performance programmes, regional tournaments, and education and training.”

“An important part of this investment is the continued role out of best practice principles in sport science that have the aim of improving levels of performance through a variety of disciplines, such as conditioning, mental skills and nutrition. Hand in hand with this are the latest sports medicine protocols in areas such as injury and illness prevention,” added Horne.

Convener of the conference is the IRB’s Physical Conditioning Consultant and Senior Lecturer at Otago Polytechnic’s Institute of Sport and Adventure, Matthew Blair, will be assisted at the conference by several high-profile presenters including:

  • Dr Warren MacDonald, the Australian Rugby Union’s Chief Medical Officer who has been involved in elite sport for more than 20 years
  • Dave Hadfield (MA Psychology) one of New Zealand’s best-known high-performance consultants who has worked widely in high-performance sport in New Zealand, the United Kingdom and France
  • Prof. Ken Hodge, a professor in sport and exercise psychology at the School of Physical Education, Sport and Exercise Sciences, University of Otago, New Zealand
  • William Koong, Fiji’s senior national team physiotherapist and President of the Fiji Physiotherapy Association
  • Gary Slater, National Performance Nutrition Coordinator for the Australian Rugby Union, a sports performance focused dietician and sports physiologist who has been working in elite sport since 1996
  • Jason Healy, the Performance Analysis Manager at NZ Rugby, based in Wellington and leads a small team that focuses on Data and Sports Technology.

In Rugby’s global world the SSSM disciplines are becoming increasingly important in terms of player welfare and Blair believes the Oceania region has a vital role to play in ensuring the region has relevant sports science and sports medicine policies in place.

“The main objectives of this conference are several fold to be honest, but I suppose at the top of the list is ensuring the region is fully compliant and conversant with all IRB rules, regulations and policies which refer to sports science and sports medicine,” Blair said.

“It’s also very important we develop sports science and sports medicine practices that deliver to the unique requirements of the Oceania region,” Blair added.

Topics covered over the course of the two-day conference will include:

  • Sport medicine challenges and solutions in the Pacific Islands
  • Sports analysis – how does it make the boat go faster?
  • Common sports nutrition myths and misconceptions
  • Motivational climate in a world champion team
  • Sport science challenges and solutions in the Pacific Islands

Delegates to the conference will be coming from Australia, Cook Islands, Fiji, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Samoa and Tonga.