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An engineering student from the University of Ulster has used his technical expertise to help the Sullivan Upper Rugby team on its journey to the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup Final.

Third year engineering student Andrew Williamson from Belfast is currently on his placement year at Sullivan Upper School in Holywood. His placement project is focused on using state of the art equipment to study the biomechanics of individual players.

Biomechanics is the detailed study of how the skeleton, joints and muscles move during exercise. By monitoring these movements, Andrew and the team coach accessed detailed information, which enabled them to adjust training and improve performance.

Chris Peel, Headmaster, Sullivan Upper School, said: “Weapproached the University of Ulster to access knowledge and expertise which combined engineering and sports performance, and we were delighted to secure a placement student.

"Andrew’s work has helped us to understand and integrate new monitoring technology into our rugby training, as well as use data to shape rugby training priorities. In particular, his work has identified more energyefficientways for our players to compete, leading to a significant enhancement instamina and skill levels which can only be of benefit in the Ulster Schools’ Cup Final.”

Professor Richard Millar, Dean of the University of Ulster’s Faculty of Computing and Engineering said: “Sporting professionals are increasingly recognising the positive impact science, technology, engineering and mathematics can have on training and athlete performance.

“Central to our teaching and research at Ulster is a focus on making the skills our students develop, relevant across key sectors including sport, business and healthcare. I’m delighted with the valuable engineering based work that Andrew is continuing to deliver for the Sullivan Rugby team and I wish them every success in Monday’s final.”

Ulster student Andrew Williamson said: “My placement at Sullivan and my work on the Ulster Schools’ Cup preparation is proving to be a really interesting and exciting experience. The Sullivan team has worked and trained with such focus and determination for the Schools’ Cup competition, so I’m proud to have contributed in some small way with my biomechanics and engineering based skills.

“This experience has given me a real insight into potential future career opportunities. I’m really looking forward to completing my degree at the University of Ulster and exploring all the options that my skills and my Ulster Schools’ Cup experience can offer."