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Highlanders coaching staff visit Otago

Wednesday 21 March 2018 11:01am

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Members of the Highlanders coaching team outside the Clocktower Building during their visit to the University yesterday.

With the Highlanders Super Rugby side at the top end of the Super Rugby points table and currently unbeaten in 2018, it’s no surprise their coaching staff are looking for every opportunity to maintain the side’s peak performance.

The full line-up of Highlanders coaches was hosted by the University of Otago yesterday afternoon at the School of Physical Education, Sport and Exercise Sciences. With the School ranked seventh out of 1,127 worldwide according to the 2017 QS World University rankings, the visit was an opportunity for the School to establish an ongoing relationship with the Highlanders and explore future work together.

"Things like the heat-chamber in terms of preparation for games like in Fiji this year ... looking at how those methods of training can help enhance our performance in those environments."

The University of Otago is a major partner in the Highlanders’ sponsorship group. The School of Physical Education Sport and Exercise Sciences’ Professor Tania Cassidy, Nigel Barrett, Dr Peter Lamb and Senior Lecturer Anne-Marie Jackson discussed with the Highlanders coaching panel ways in which the expertise and cutting-edge resources the School offers could help the Highlanders get a winning edge on the field.

Items discussed included utilising the school’s Environmental Chamber to prepare for hot climates or high-altitude venues, to VO2 (oxygen consumption) testing, high-speed-camera technique analysis, and coaching and data analytical opportunities – and that would contribute to learning and research.

Present from the Highlanders were Head Coach Aaron Mauger, Assistant Coaches Mark Hammett and Glen Delaney, Scrum and Forward Coach Clarke Dermody, High Performance Development Coach Cory Brown, and CEO Roger Clark.

"It’s been really beneficial," Highlanders Head Coach Aaron Mauger says. "Things like the heat-chamber in terms of preparation for games like in Fiji this year. We’re off to South Africa, so looking at how those methods of training can help enhance our performance in those environments. Some of the technical aspects especially around our scrum, our lineout throwing, our jumping and lifting techniques in the biomechanics department was pretty impressive."

After the visit Mauger said there is plenty of opportunity to delve into how the Highlanders can best use the “great resource” they have at the University of Otago.

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