UCLan Sports Arena hosted the Tongan Rugby Union team last week.
The players were put through the paces as they took advantage of the Arena’s rugby pitches and strength and conditioning suites in preparation for their upcoming internationals, which started with a 23-9 victory over Georgia on Saturday.
Tonga Head Coach Mana Otai said: “We’re very impressed with the facilities here at UCLan Sports Arena and will make the most of them as we prepare for our autumn international matches,”
In return for the university’s hospitality, two second year sports coaching students, Liam Reilly and Oliver Hicks, were chosen to work with the squad on performance analysis. The players also bbenefitedfrom the University’s Physiotherapy Clinic for sports massage treatment from second and third year sports therapy students.
Liam Reilly said: “It’s a massive opportunity to work so closely with the professionals and they see how they do it.”
Tonga are currently considering using UCLan as a base for next year’s Rugby Union World Cup. This follows a series of other high-profile international sports team visits, when both the Irish and Fijian Rugby League teams used the UCLan Sports Arena as a base camp during the Rugby League World Cup 2013.
UCLan also previously hosted several Olympic athletes from Oceania, including Tonga, as they prepared for the London 2012 Olympic Games.
Tonga will further play the United States on Saturday 15 November, and Scotland on Saturday 22 November.