STARS of the Crusaders rugby league team are renowned for being big and strong, but Glyndwr University is testing exactly how well they shape up.

Using facilities in the university’s research laboratories, sports and coaching science students are to begin assessing the fitness levels of players as part of work for their degree.

The programme includes assessments of the Crusaders’ strength, power, agility and flexibility. Aerobic fitness will also be under scrutiny.

Dr Sue Taylor, senior lecturer in sport and exercise sciences, said the opportunity of working with a professional rugby league side will provide students with valuable experience.

“To have the chance of working with such a high profile club as the Crusaders will be another great opportunity for students.

“It will provide excellent hands-on experience of spending some time with professional athletes and competing at the highest level. It’s not an opportunity which many students would get while at university and we’re grateful to the Crusaders for their support.”

As well as the initiative with the Crusaders, the students already benefit from links with Wrexham FC, the North Wales Regional Tennis Centre, Welsh Rugby Union and North Wales Basketball.

Feedback on all aspects of their degree, including quality of teaching, assessment and feedback, led to Glyndwr University being ranked in the top two in the UK for sports science in the recent national student survey.

“We have finished in the top five in the UK for the last three years of the survey. We are pleased that we are consistently meeting students’ expectations,” added Dr Taylor.

“All of the students have access to dynamic and friendly staff who are research active.

“Opportunities such as the work with the Crusaders really help to enhance their experiences and make them more employable when they leave university.”