The chance to work in a semi-professional environment is priceless

Ioan Alexander Paval USW-Rugby-degree

A second year BSc (Hons) Rugby Coaching & Performance student has experienced a taste of real success with Pontypridd RFC.

Ioan Alexander Paval (Alex), an international student from Romania, was on a performance analysis placement with the Welsh Premiership Club when they beat Bedwas RFC to win the Fosters Challenge Trophy.

Alex enrolled onto the rugby coaching course at USW to immerse himself in a tier 1 rugby environment and learn as much as he could about rugby’s high performance environment.

He successfully gained his Level 2 rugby coaching qualification with the Welsh Rugby Union, and after taking a special interest in performance and predictive analytics, was fortunate to win a placement at Ponty RFC where he picked up his first ever winners medal.

But he's not stopping there! Alex has applied for a position in the WRU Analytics Bureau (for 2016/17) and has an opportunity to work for the World Cup (2019) Qualifiers early in 2017.

Rugby course leader Dean Parsons, a World Cup 2015 Analyst himself, said: "Alex has excelled in an analysis role this season. He has been a huge asset to the club. Learning the fundamental skills of capturing the game from a coaching perspective to building and using a comprehensive template to analyse games in ‘real’ time, Alex has demonstrated an incredible work ethic and commitment to the cause. The coaching staff at the club are incredibly grateful for all his hard work and are hopeful for him continuing during the 2016/17 season."

Alex said: "This Rugby Degree programme is indeed unique. The opportunities to develop my rugby coaching knowledge, work towards my CSCS strength and conditioning qualifications and analytics accreditation with Sportstec are available to you here at USW. Most importantly, the placements are incredible, and it’s that application of skill sets that makes the difference.

One day we are coaching for one of the professional regions in schools or on elite skills hubs with the WRU Rugby Development Officers, the next we are capturing and analysing the game. As a student, having the opportunity to work in a semi-professional environment in a meaningful position is priceless. I can’t thank USW enough."


Picture: Alex with Ponty’s head coach and former Welsh International Rob Sidoli