After qualifying as a Physiotherapist in 2007 I worked within the NHS in a broad range of settings, although most of my experience was in the area of musculoskeletal physiotherapy. I then moved to work full-time in professional rugby league and rugby union settings as a Sports Physiotherapist. I always enjoyed supervising students as a clinician and decided to move into a full-time academic role at the University of Cumbria in 2014.  I initially worked as part of the teaching team on the Sports Rehabilitation programme at the University. 

I completed my PgC in Academic Practice at the University in 2016 before moving to the role of Senior Lecturer in Physiotherapy in 2018; where I am responsbile for the Programme Leadership of the MSc Physiotherapy (pre-registration) programme. I am currently studying for a PhD in Sport and Exercise Medicine alongside my full-time role, focussing on musculoskeletal screening in elite youth rugby union players.  I teach across both BSc and MSc Physiotherapy programmes and provide supervision for our MSc Physiotherapy students.

I continue to work clinically in rugby union, providing Physiotherapy support for Cumbria's Developing Player Programme and Newcastle Falcons Academy, I am also the Physiotherapist for England Students Mens Rugby Union Team.  Alongside this I am a faculty member for the Rugby Football Union's (RFU) Pre-Hospital Immediate Care in Sport (PHICIS) course at Levels 2 and 3.

Qualifications and memberships

PhD Sport & Exercise Medicine - University of Cumbria (commenced 2021)

PgCert Academic Practice - University of Cumbria (2016)

PgDip Sports Physiotherapy - University of Bath (2012)

MSc Physiotherapy (Pre-registration) - Teesside University (2007)

BSc Sport & Exercise Science - York St. John (2004)


Professional Memberships

Senior Fellow of AdvanceHE

Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP)

Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC)

Academic and research interests

I am currently researching musculoskeletal screening processes in elite youth rugby. I am interested in current practices and the application of testing in a clinical environment.


Rowell, S and Relph, N (2021) The Landing Error Scoring System (LESS) and Lower Limb Power Profiles in Elite Rugby Union Players. 

International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy. 2021;16(5):1286-1294. doi:10.26603/001c.27632






Recent external roles

Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen

External Examiner - MSc Physiotherapy


England Students Mens Rugby Union 

Lead Physiotherapist 


RFU Pre-hospital Immediate Care in Sport Programme

Faculty Member