Mark Bennett is to join the Rugby Football Union (RFU) as Head of Sports Science and Medicine.
Taking up the role in July 2017, he will be responsible for creating and implementing a programme to maximise the athletic development of players across England’s international teams, outside of the men’s senior squad.
Reporting to Nigel Melville, Professional Rugby Director, Bennett will manage the sports science and medical team that supports the women, sevens and player pathway including analysis, anti-doping, conditioning, nutrition, psychology, research and sports medicine. He will ensure alignment between teams and further relationships with professional clubs to optimise player development.
Bennett is currently Head of Performance at Bristol Rugby having begun his coaching career with the Bristol Shoguns in 1999. Between these roles he spent five years with Ospreys Rugby as Head of Strength and Conditioning and six years with the Welsh Rugby Union.
— Bristol Rugby (@Bristol_RFC) March 27, 2017
As Wales’ national team Conditioning Coach, Bennett was a member of the management who won the Six Nations Grand Slam in 2005 and 2008 and, in his early years with the union, created and managed the national academy conditioning department as Head of Sport Science.
As a professional player, Bennett played for Cardiff RFC, Neath RFC and Bristol Rugby and featured in Wales’ 1995 Rugby World Cup campaign in South Africa.
Bennett lectured part-time in Sport Science between 2003-2009 at the University of Wales and University of Glamorgan, during which time he conducted post-graduate research in training adaptations for professional rugby players. He has also consulted for the Sports Council of Wales and Swansea City; influencing training content for athletes and the continued professional development of their conditioning coaches.
Bennett said: “It is an exciting time for England Rugby and this is a chance to work with a diverse set of talented players across age-grade, sevens and women. This will be a fantastic opportunity to work with younger athletes and those who are on their way to reaching the top, putting processes in place to help guide them along the way.”
Melville said: “Mark is very forward thinking and has done a lot of research into how the game is being played and the direction it will take going forward. His analytical and progressive approach is particularly important for the pathway and in preparing players for the future. He will be a real asset to the department, creating better alignment within each area of sport science and medicine and improving processes for professional development.”
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