Rugby coaching strengthens links with China

As the Welsh rugby season kicks off Swansea University will be saying farewell to a group of Chinese rugby coaches who have completed a 3-month intense rugby coach education programme with the university.

Swansea University has strong links with China and following the Vice Chancellor’s and University rugby teams successful visits to China last year the University worked with the Federation of University Sport China (FUSC) on developing the training programme.

Chinese coaches with Rich and Josh

The Swansea University coaching programme is being promoted by the FUSC to all universities and schools in China and is the first group to participate in a rugby and soccer training programme under the UK-China high level dialogue people-to-people framework. The project is fully supported by the China Scholarship Council and the Education Office of the Chinese Embassy in the UK.

The 16 strong group of training delegates on the Swansea University education programme came from all corners of China and from a range of disciplines ie from university lecturers and coaches to high school PE teachers. The education programme combined theory with practice to enable the coaches to gain a full understanding of UK rugby, an insight into its popularity at different levels and at different ages as well as the physical strength and conditional training required to play the game.

Chinese coaches training

The coaches completed WRU Level 1 & 2 UKCC courses as well as a Level 1 Refereeing course and a Level 1 Strength and Conditioning course which they will take back to China and use to help develop the game on a regional basis and provide them with useful knowledge and experience which can be utilised when developing the sport in China. 

The Chinese coaches education programme also utilised the universities links with the professional rugby union Ospreys team. The coaches observed their summer camps and junior tournaments over the summer period along with the experience of being involved in a professional rugby environment.  

During the three months the coaches also attended a joint course from the WRU management team and lectures by the University’s School of Management and Sports Science departments, enhancing their knowledge as coaches and managers through the ION leadership programme and physiology lectures. The coaches also completed a first aid course and the English Language Training Services team organised sessions to assist the coaches with their language training.

Chinese coaches at Rhossilli

Feng Yuan, leader of the Chinese coaches delegation said: “"We have been honoured to learn in a country with a long rugby history and tradition, and thus come to realize the responsibility on our shoulders. We have cherished this rare opportunity, worked hard, and ended up with some achievements, so that we are able to return with advanced skills and tactics to enhance the overall level of the Chinese rugby campaign. We also had a chance visit the beautiful coastal city of Swansea and enjoyed a trip to Rhossili Bay. Everyone held their breath at the well protected natural environment and the way the sea and sky landscaped in harmony.” 

Richard Lancaster Sport and Corporate Events Manager, Swansea University said:

“ We are proud to have been chosen as the first University to host the UK-China rugby training part of the project. We organised a variety of training, including group discussions and activities as well as lectures in addition to the physical training programme. The group worked very hard and willing engaged in the intensive training programme.

“ During the three months the group were in Swansea we developed an excellent rapport with the Chinese coaches and hopefully lasting relationships. We hope that our small part in helping China’s rugby education programme will go some way to encouraging the development of rugby in China and we look forward to seeing China compete on the world rugby stage in the not too distant future.  “   


Student rugby players from Swansea University visited Beijing from 25 July to 1 August for China-UK University Sports Week, playing in a sevens tournament on 28-29 July with Chinese universities. It was part of the China-UK high-level People-to-People Exchange. The Swansea delegation attended official receptions at the Chinese Embassy in London and at the British Council in Beijing.

Swansea was the only UK university invited by the Chinese Embassy to take part in the tournament, which saw Swansea’s men’s and women’s teams play against their counterparts from Chinese universities.   Both Swansea teams performed well, with the men's team winning their tournament.

While in Beijing, the teams attended a British Council reception, and senior figures from Swansea University, including Vice Chancellor Professor Richard B Davies, met with the Chinese Ministry of Education, and with two of China’s top universities: Beijing Normal and China Agricultural University.

Swansea University and China: existing links

•    Around 1400 Chinese students are currently enrolled at Swansea University

•    Swansea University Medical School recently opened a joint medical centre with Wuhan Union Hospital; this is one of China’s leading hospitals, set up in 1866 by Griffith John, a Swansea-born missionary

•    Mathematics experts from Beijing Normal and Swansea University work in collaboration, with professors co-supervising research

•    The Chinese national women’s rugby sevens team visited Swansea in May 2015, playing some games and training at our sports facilities

•    Swansea University now has an office in Beijing

•    Recent VIP Chinese visitors to Swansea University include a delegation led by the deputy mayor of Beijing

For more information about the Vice Chancellor’s and the rugby teams 2015 visit to China go to

For more information about student sport at Swansea University go to

For more information about the English Language Training Services (ELTS) go to

Pictures: Some of the coaches training at the Swansea University rugby field Sketty Lane; the group enjoying their visit to Rhossili Bay and the coaches and trainers team photograph.