Researchers and students will work with and alongside Rugby Australia's national teams, including the Qantas Wallabies, in a new facility that is the first of its kind in Australia to embed university programs in this sort of sporting centre of excellence.
The Rugby Australia Building, officially opened in Sydney by Assistant Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science Craig Laundy and NSW Minister for Sport Stuart Ayres, is a partnership between Rugby Australia and the University of Technology Sydney (UTS), on Sydney Cricket and Sports Ground Trust (SCGT) land.
Backed by significant and equal investments by the Australian Government and NSW State Government, the building in Sydney's Moore Park sports precinct will be home to more than 100 sports professionals and over 700 students and researchers. They will have access to world-class amenities, including state-of-the-art training and research spaces and high-performance laboratories.
At the launch of the building, Minister Laundy said the project would draw in major events, conferences and regional symposiums in the coming years, and had already paid major dividends for Australians during construction.
"This project, which the Turnbull-Joyce Government committed $10 million toward, has created 1,100 jobs during construction and will create another 20 ongoing jobs, continuing the Australian Government's commitment to support economic growth across the nation," Mr Laundy said.
"In addition to the coaching offices, indoor training field, gym, video review room and study areas, the new facility will showcase the game's history – ingraining a strong culture of Rugby into our youngsters," he noted.
"This will be an integrated sports hub that not only benefits grassroots rugby but also a generation of students and researchers working alongside elite athletes and coaches," Minister Ayres said.
The Rugby Australia Building is the new home of the Qantas Wallabies, Buildcorp Wallaroos and the Qantas Australian Sevens teams, and the national headquarters for Indigenous and grassroots Rugby development. The building is also the new base for the Rugby Australia administration and has a purpose-built broadcast centre for Rugby.com.au to live stream and create online content.
Researchers and students from UTS's sport and exercise science and physiotherapy programs will be based in the new building.
UTS Vice-Chancellor Professor Attila Brungs says the deepening partnership with Rugby Australia will allow academics and students to work alongside elite athletes, leading to high-impact learning and research outcomes for students and scholars as well as benefits for players and sports organisations.
UTS research will support talent identification, development and performance, injury minimisation and best-practice recovery and rehabilitation.
"This creates unmatched opportunities for UTS students seeking internships and careers within leading sports organisations. This has already proven to work, with a number of UTS PhD students already involved with the Sydney Swans, Sydney Roosters and other local clubs," Professor Brungs says.
"From a research perspective, having direct access to players will ensure we produce high-impact research."
Already, honours students such as Mitch Henderson and researchers like Joanne Hausler, Dr Katie Slattery and Dr Job Fransen are investigating areas such as new evidence-based approaches to training, how to scientifically identify young athletes with potential to become elite sportspeople, and whether you can get the benefits of high-altitude training from a supplement.
Rugby Australia Chairman Cameron Clyne says the co-location with UTS will provide tremendous benefits for Rugby's national high-performance programs. "The new headquarters will not only greatly enhance the sustainability and success of Australian Rugby but will also strengthen our connection with the wider Rugby community and the local community, who will have access to the facilities."
SCGT Chairman Tony Shepherd says the arrival of UTS in the Moore Park precinct is a "game-changer" for the sports industry, along with Rugby Australia joining several major clubs and codes who call the SCG precinct home.
"Rugby belongs at the SCG and Allianz Stadium. The sport has been drawing fans to our venues since the 1880s and today the Sydney Sevens and Wallabies June Test are two of our most popular events on the NSW sporting calendar."
The Rugby Australia Building was designed by global architecture Populous, managed by CBRE Project Management and delivered by AW Edwards.
Rugby Australia and UTS academic staff have begun using the new building, with students to start classes there in the new year.