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Sir Graham Henry Shares The Science Behind Sports

Sir Graham Henry Shares The Science Behind High Performance Sports

Rugby World Cup-winning coach Sir Graham Henry will give 100 lucky Otago teenagers an insight into the science behind high performance sport at a special lunch to be held in Dunedin tomorrow (Friday June 24) as part of the New Zealand International Science Festival.

Supported by the University of Otago’s Development and Alumni Relations Office (DARO) and hosted by local radio personality Callum Proctor, Sir Graham, one of the world’s most successful rugby coaches, will speak on a range of topics including sports psychology, mental fitness, nutrition and coaching to high school students from across the Otago region on the eve of the All Blacks test in Dunedin.

An alumni of the University of Otago, Sir Graham was at the forefront of bringing different fields of science into rugby and will also discuss some of the many opportunities available in sports science and his experiences working with science leaders in these fields.

“A world class sports team is supported by a management team who are also world class with knowledge and qualifications firmly based in science,” says Sir Graham.

“In the All Blacks management team, there are sports psychologists, analysts, physiotherapists, nutritionists, massage therapists, strength and conditioning coaches – there to ensure the squad performs at its best in every game.”

New Zealand International Science Festival Director Chris Green says the lunch is an ideal preview to this year’s festival which celebrates the many different directions science can take you.

“Sir Graham was one of the early advocates of bringing sports science into the All Blacks and it’s fantastic to have him sharing his experiences with these students and their parents.

“It has become a Science Festival tradition of sorts to include a sports science event before a test match here in Dunedin and having Sir Graham involved raises the bar even higher.”

University of Otago Development and Alumni Relations Director Philip Kearney says this event provides an excellent opportunity for young people to “gain inspiration, and be challenged to think about the role science plays in sports in new ways, from someone who has achieved at the highest levels.”

“We are very pleased Sir Graham still feels a strong connection with Otago and wants to share his knowledge and experiences. Invaluable relationships with alumni, like Sir Graham, have numerous benefits for people in the community, including young people – who we see as our future alumni.”

The Science of Sports lunch with Sir Graham Henry will be held tomorrow (Friday June 24) at 12pm-1.30pm at the Hutton Theatre, Otago Museum.

It is just one of more than 170 events to be held during the New Zealand International Science Festival, which officially kicks off on July 8 in Dunedin. A full programme of events can be found at


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