Amelia and Sam apply strength and conditioning expertise as squad prepare to face France on Sunday
MSc Sport and Exercise Science students Amelia Farrow and Sam Bland have been working with England Wheelchair since August to help players improve their strength and conditioning in the run-up to the fixture on Saturday, 4 November, at the First Direct Arena in Leeds.
The duo deliver warm up sessions before training and games and are able to use their ongoing research studies to inform their approach.
"... so it's allowed us to apply what we've learnt in other sports and figure out what works."— UCLan MSc Sport and Exercise Science student Amelia Farrow
Amelia, 22, works in women’s football alongside her Rugby Football League (RFL) role. She said: “It's given me the chance to learn and be involved in a sport that is new to me.
“There's limited research and resources about strength and conditioning in wheelchair rugby league so it's allowed us to apply what we've learnt in other sports and figure out what works.”
Both Sam and Amelia completed undergraduate degrees in strength and conditioning at UCLan earlier this year before embarking on the postgraduate course in September, whilst simultaneously working with England Wheelchair.
"I’m enjoying applying my training knowledge and research to wheelchair sports and like the mixture of inclusivity and rivalry rolled into one that comes with wheelchair rugby league."— UCLan MSc Sport and Exercise Science student Sam Bland
Sam, 40, who also works as a sports lecturer at Myerscough College, said: “I’m enjoying applying my training knowledge and research to wheelchair sports and like the mixture of inclusivity and rivalry rolled into one that comes with wheelchair rugby league.
“Networking plays a vital part in obtaining opportunities and positions and this was certainly the case with UCLan introducing me to the England Wheelchair team.”
Amelia added: “I like that wheelchair rugby league is so inclusive. Anyone can take part whether they are disabled or non-disabled. Its rise in popularity has given us the chance to train at amazing facilities such as St George's Park and the National Cycling Centre in Manchester.”
Tom Coyd MBE, England Wheelchair Head Coach, said: “Amelia and Sam have joined our group this year as we have built towards our internationals against France, and they’ve made an excellent impression on everyone.
"[rugby league] obviously has some specific rules and demands of its own, and Amelia and Sam have really relished the challenge of adapting to those unique features.”"— Tom Coyd MBE, England Wheelchair Head Coach
“It’s an exciting time for all of us now with the first match against France coming up in Leeds this weekend, and they’ll be an integral part of that. Although the great appeal of wheelchair rugby league is that it’s so similar to the running game in terms of rules, it obviously has some specific rules and demands of its own, and Amelia and Sam have really relished the challenge of adapting to those unique features.”
UCLan has extensive and long-standing links with rugby league. It was named as the official partner of England Rugby League for the Men’s, Women’s and Wheelchair fixtures in October and November and continues to be the official University of current Super League Champions Wigan Warriors. In addition, England Wheelchair Assistant Coach Dave Banks also works as a lecturer at UCLan where he teaches performance analysis.
Tom added: “It’s pleasing for us that England Rugby League has a wider partnership with UCLan, and that our work with Amelia and Sam fits so well with that.”
England will play France on Sunday, 5 November at 3.15pm, for the first time since the Rugby League World Cup final 2021 when England came away victorious with a 28-24 win.
More information is available on the RLF website.