Rugby and science are a winning competition for University of Queensland Bachelor of Science student Joe Jenkins, who has made his debut this year for the national Wales Rugby Union Sevens squad.

21-year-old Mr Jenkins played for UQ Rugby Club after high school and while studying at UQ, representing the club 57 times between 2014 and 2016, earning seven Premier Grade caps along the way.

“UQ Rugby, its Academy and Sevens program have all been essential to my success,” he said.

“Equally, UQ's Abroad student exchange program opened my eyes to possibilities I would not have been aware of had I not been encouraged to apply to travel and study as part of my degree.”

Mr Jenkins chose the Bachelor of Science program at UQ because of its excellent reputation.

“I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do for a career when I left school but I had an interest in health and science,” he said.

He played several games for premier grade while still a “colt” (that is, an under 19-aged player) and was a part of UQ Rugby's Academy. 

In 2015, he completed a one-semester study exchange as part of UQ's Abroad program to the University of Massachusetts​ and it was this experience that saw him explore further opportunities to travel and either study or play rugby.  

“My grandmother is Welsh and because of this, I approached some coaches in Wales to see whether they would be interested in my playing over there,” he said.  

Soon after he made these approaches, the Welsh Rugby Union were made aware of his Welsh ancestry and invited him, in February this year, to train with their national rugby Sevens squad.

In May this year, in the London leg of the HSBC World Sevens Series, he made his debut for Wales, scoring on his first touch of the ball.

Over the past couple of months, he has played in four additional tournaments representing Wales.

Mr Jenkins is majoring in Biomedical Science, and hopes to graduate next year.

“With the help of Science faculty advisors I’ll be looking to complete my remaining courses while pursuing my rugby career overseas. 

“I’m very grateful that the Science Faculty continues to be very supportive of my situation.”

His advice for other potential students is to strongly consider undertaking the UQ Abroad program, and enjoy the many social and sporting opportunities available for students. 

“Make the most of the flexibility of the Bachelor of Science degree to take electives in other faculties to broaden your thinking,” he said.

Mr Jenkins is one of a number of notable UQ science students and graduates to demonstrate the value of sport and study, including:

·         UQ Bachelor of Science graduate (2006) Stephen Moore, who last month announced his retirement as Australian Wallabies rugby union captain, and will play one more Rugby season with the Queensland Reds. Read the Contact magazine article, The Science Behind the Game.

·         Bachelor of Commerce/Bachelor of Science student Angus Scott-Young, who was selected this year to represent Australia in the Oceania U20s championships and the World Rugby U20s championships.

Media: Joe Jenkins, c/- Associate Professor David Jenkins, d.jenkins@uq.edu.au, +61 7 3365 6768.

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