Match officials at the Rugby World Cup Final between Australia and New Zealand are sure to be in safe hands, with two Middlesex University sports physio experts overseeing their physiotherapy.
As the lead physios for the match officials, Associate Professors Ange Cumine and Clare Deary have been charged with coordinating all physiotherapy, treatment and massage for the 33 referees, assistant referees and TMOs throughout the Rugby World Cup.
Having worked one semi-final each, the final between Australia and New Zealand falls to Ange and she will be on the touchline to treat the referees in case any of them pick up an injury.
"The medics all sit right at the front, so I've got one of the best seats in the house," says Ange, who is Programme Leader for the BSc Sport and Exercise Rehabilitation degree at Middlesex and has been working with the RFU since 1992.
"We have been in charge of their treatment throughout the tournament so they go out to the game, come back and they work with us four or five days a week. If we're not working the match we also ensure there is a physio there."
The day before games Clare is in charge of briefing the other physios – telling them what they need to look out for, if they have any concerns about injuries.
Juggling their teaching at Middlesex's London Sports Institute with their commitments to the RWC, the pair have worked from the referees' base at the Landmark Hotel and have covered the games at Twickenham.
Maintaining the balance between academia and practice is challenging, but Ange believes it is critical as a teacher to demonstrate to students the value of hard work and experience.
"One of the hardest parts of being an academic and a practitioner is making sure you do enough practical work. You can't just talk it, you have to do it as well," she says.
"But the most important thing for me is that you're never different. I might be at the World Cup Final on Sunday, but I'll be teaching pathology with my first year students at 8am on Monday morning."
Photo: Associate Professors Ange Cumine (left) and Clare Deary pose with the Webb Ellis Cup ahead of the Rugby World Cup Final.