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University of Sydney rugby union players

Victory for the future of rugby

24 September 2015

As rugby fans gear up to watch Australia vs Uruguay on Sunday, the Sydney University Football Club celebrates a major announcement that will support the development of future rugby players and elite athletes who require specialist training facilities.

More than 400 elite athletes train at the University of Sydney's facilities each year. Many of these athletes go on to represent Australia at worldwide sporting competitions. Our World Cup Wallaby players include Bernard Foley (BEc '14), Israel Folau, Nick Phipps, Ben McCalman, Dean Mumm and Will Skelton.

Sydney University Football Club (SUFC) has a unique skill in producing representative players – more than 116 Australian rugby representatives, of whom 96 have played for the Wallabies and between them have played more than 930 Test matches.

SUFC's elite athlete development program is set to be enhanced thanks to a generous gift by David Mortimer committing to establish a world-class high performance gym.

"This gift is transformational – it will turn a wish into a reality and the benefits will flow for many years to come," said Robert Smithies, Executive Director, Sydney Uni Sport and Fitness.

"The gym will be the first of its kind in Australia and will set the University of Sydney further apart from other Australian universities elite programs and rugby clubs in Sydney," he said.

The gym, to be housed at Grandstand Project at Oval No. 2, will give our athletes and elite sporting teams access to state-of-the-art training equipment to enhance their training and skill development. Features will include free weights and pin-loaded machines, cardio equipment, lifting platforms and ancillary fitness equipment.

Scholarship holders and elite athletes will be able to train in a specialised gym of their own. They will have access to more training session times and flexibility as they juggle their study schedules. The quality of training will improve through better equipment and increased options for functional training and sport-specific regimes. The current University facilities will be freed up for other student uses.

David Mortimer has been associated with Sydney Uni Sport and Fitness since his appointment as the President of SUFC in 2000. In that time the club comprising an amazing team of committed sponsors, coaches, players, volunteers and SUFC alumni has emerged as the leading producer of professional rugby players in the world. They have won 12 championships, 11 colts' club championships and nine first grade premierships.

"Through his passion for rugby and commitment to the club, David has led this team and it has transformed SUFC into a powerhouse for Australian rugby," said Smithies.

"David Mortimer's gift will enable the development of world's best practice sporting infrastructure which gives our athletes a chance to more fully achieve their potential on the world stage."

With every gift to the University of Sydney, donors become part of the INSPIRED campaign, which aims to raise $600 million by 2017.

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