“It is a great opportunity to promote Staffordshire University's international profile, global citizenship and outward mobility of our students and alumni."
Dr Lisa Blenkinsop, Head of International Recruitment
Rugby teams from Staffordshire University travelled 6000 miles to China as part of an exciting new sporting partnership.
Both the men's and women's rugby teams spent 10 days in Xiamen, China, competing in the China-UK Rugby Friendship Games at Jimei University last month.
The tournament, organised by the Federation of University Sports of China (FUSC), was part of the wider 2016 China-UK University Sport Week which is aimed at promoting global sporting links and was watched by thousands of people throughout China.
Dr Lisa Blenkinsop, Head of International Recruitment, said: “This project is probably the first of its kind, particularly in China. It is a great opportunity to promote Staffordshire University's international profile, global citizenship and outward mobility of our students and alumni."
“The FUSC has told us that all the Chinese universities really enjoyed taking part in the games with our students and are keen to be involved in more sports related projects with the University next year which excellent news for the University and our students."
The invitation to take part in the games followed Staffordshire University's winning bid to host a three month Football Coaching Project which is currently being held in partnership with Stoke City Football Club.
The FUSC contributed much of the cost of the rugby players' accommodation, transport and activities. As well as training alongside the Chinese players, the students also got to enjoy their trip off the pitch with guided tours and cultural activities around the region.
Liam Walpole, Captain of the men's team, said: “The trip to China was a fantastic experience for everyone involved. All of the Chinese players, officials and those involved with guiding us around Xiamen were very gracious and welcoming and I thank them very warmly on behalf of the rest of the team.
"I am proud to have represented Staffs out there and created links to Jimei University.”
Both teams brought back trophies after winning their friendly matches and hope to maintain their relationship with their new overseas friends.
Ladies' captain, Carmel Elliot added: “It was an incredible experience and a huge learning curve for the team to train in a completely new environment! I'm just so happy because we only started up as a team in September but we went to China and came back with a trophy and a hugely improved team!”
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