Rugby Union

Brumbies appoint Ben Serpell as new strength and conditioning boss

The ACT Brumbies have one of the "largest sporting institutions just over the road" and new athletic performance director Ben Serpell wants to use the Australian Institute of Sport's expertise to help return the Super Rugby title to Canberra.

Serpell was the Brumbies' rehabilitation guru, responsible for rebuilding Wallabies star David Pocock from back-to-back knee reconstructions into one of the best player's at the World Cup.

ACT Brumbies athletic performance director Ben Serpell wants to utilise the AIS's expertise to reclaim the Super Rugby title.
ACT Brumbies athletic performance director Ben Serpell wants to utilise the AIS's expertise to reclaim the Super Rugby title. Photo: Melissa Adams

With Damian Marsh's return to the Queensland Reds, Serpell has stepped up to take the reins of the Brumbies' strength-and-conditioning program.

Serpell was known for thinking outside the box with his rehab programs – using paddle boards, trampolines and sandpits to help keep players mentally fresh while recovering from injury.

He had Pocock paddling on Lake Burley Griffin, running up Mt Ainslie and training with students at the Erindale gymnastics centre.

Serpell also oversaw Brumbies captain Stephen Moore's return from a knee reconstruction, with the hooker coming back to regain his Wallabies captaincy and lead Australia to the World Cup final.

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Last year, Serpell organised for Brumbies winger Joe Tomane to do a boxing session with national coach Kevin Smith in the AIS combat centre when he was recovering from a broken cheekbone.

Serpell wants to further strengthen the Brumbies' ties with the AIS and tap into the wealth of knowledge and expertise that's just around the corner from their University of Canberra headquarters.

That means the entire squad will have boxing sessions in the combat centre, they will liaise with the AIS's dietitians and strength-and-conditioning department and Serpell is part of their performance leaders program.

"We are definitely strengthening out relationship with the AIS and gaining further support from them, which will enable us to tap in to some of the sharpest minds in terms of coaching and sports science," Serpell said.

"We've got one of the largest sporting institutions just over the road ... so we'd be crazy not to tap into those resources and leverage ourselves as a professional football club to make the most of that.

"Equally they can learn a lot from us. It's just something that I've been really keen on for a long time and I'm just putting that into practice now."

Serpell started out as an occupational therapist, but sought a career that would combine his love of sport.

He spent two years with English rugby club Gloucester before joining AFL team Port Adelaide for a couple of years.

That was where Dean Benton recruited him from and brought him to the Brumbies.

Serpell said the Brumbies were continuing to strengthen their back office and he was confident they had the "most talented coaching staff in Australian rugby".

That's all designed to put the Brumbies players in the best possible shape when they run onto Canberra Stadium to play the Wellington Hurricanes in round one on February 26.

The Brumbies made the Super Rugby final in 2013 and the semi-final the last two years, and Serpell wants to be part of winning their first crown since 2004.

"We've got some awesome coaches this year, probably got the most stable and most talented coaching staff in Australian rugby at the moment," he said.

"We're providing the players with every opportunity to be successful this year ... I want to work with the boys to be really successful and to win the Super Rugby trophy."

The Brumbies' pre-season begins on Friday.