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Greencore Munster Rugby Academy Update

5th December 2017 By The Editor

Academy lock Sean O’Connor scoring a try for Munster A in the B&I Cup

Senior debuts, upcoming British & Irish Cup action, 7s involvement, the latest injury news and more. Elite Player Development Officer Colm McMahon looks back at the past month’s happenings in the Greencore Munster Rugby Academy.

Senior debuts, upcoming British & Irish Cup action, 7s involvement, the latest injury news and more. Elite Player Development Officer Colm McMahon looks back at the past month’s happenings in the Greencore Munster Rugby Academy.

Academy player Calvin Nash has been added to Munster’s European Champions Cup squad in place of the injured Jaco Taute.

Since our last update, UCC prop Rob O’Donovan has joined the Academy having played in the B&I Cup for Munster A and also represented Munster at age-grade level.

Third year Academy player JP Phelan has departed the Academy. 

Four Greencore Academy players featuring in the Guinness PRO14 game v Zebre…

“The November international window always gives an opportunity for a lot of Academy guys to get involved. We have had a huge number training with the seniors, and it’s obviously very exciting for four guys to play in the PRO14, and (they) have done really well. Liam O’Connor has been there all season and playing really well, and starting. Unfortunately, he injured his knee against Ospreys and will get a scan on that this week.

“Sean O’Connor, who started a couple of games earlier on in the season, has gotten back involved there now in the last few weeks after a break. It was the first outing for Jack Stafford against Zebre, which was fantastic, and for Calvin Nash to get his first competitive try in the competition over in Italy wrapped up a really good weekend for the Academy guys involved with the seniors.”

Academy players update…

“We’ve a pretty good, clean bill of health at the moment other than the injury to Liam O’Connor. A lot of guys are just back from injury. A few guys were out with shoulder injuries that needed a bit of recovery time, and are back playing All Ireland League – Fineen Wycherley and John Foley, so great to see them back. They have been working hard in rehab, and they are back involved. Hopefully that will lead to good availability for the British & Irish Cup.”

Experience of training with senior squad…

“It’s a huge experience for them and they train really hard to get that opportunity. When they do train with the seniors, to train with that intensity in a 15 v 15 scenario is hugely beneficial. Sometimes we struggle to replicate that with smaller numbers in Academy and club training, where they don’t always have that kind of numbers. So it’s been really good learning, it always is. We really enjoy players getting that opportunity because you have to learn really fast in that environment. You learn pretty quickly when you are dealing with the standard of players that require things to be done very well.”

Big double-header in the British and Irish Cup coming up…

“We’ve had a really good start to the British & Irish Cup and the double games in December are always crucial. We have Bedford who are going very well and we’re at home in Cork first on Friday night at Irish Independent Park, and then we travel over there. It is a crucial time and it will define our progress in the group. The exposure the guys have had to the senior training and the game plan there will all aid for the preparation for the British & Irish Cup and lead to a more seamless transition from Academy and club training into performance in the British & Irish Cup.”

Any players that stood out in the opening rounds for Munster A in the B&I Cup…

“Some really good performances from guys who have been working hard. Senior player Sam Arnold was outstanding in our first few games, and thankfully he has gotten his opportunity to start now for the first team, and it’s very well deserved. This has inspired some of the Academy guys to perform well. We had Sean O’Connor back involved in the B&I Cup after his involvement with the PRO14 early in the season. He has gone really well. Our props have had great exposure as well – Brian Scott getting some really good valuable game time under his belt, and Kieran Parker also.”

 

Ireland Sevens involvement….

“Shane Daly and Alex McHenry have continued their involvement with the Irish Sevens. It’s very intense preparation this year for tournaments that Ireland haven’t been represented in before. It’s been good exposure for the guys, and they’re really enjoying it. Hopefully it will lead to them coming back in really good shape, like we had with Alex Wootton and Dan Goggin, who were involved in the programme before.”

 

Ireland U20s…

“The Irish U20s campaign is continuing with camps in preparation for the 6 Nations. It’s an excellent tool for Academy players to taste that competitive environment that you will get in professional rugby. They are continuing and we will have quite a few guys involved, hopefully playing in the 6 Nations and getting that international experience of really intense rugby. The next step is PRO14 so it’s very good for them. We have had a lot of guys coming through that lately who have learned a lot from that experience.”

Match fitness of Academy players evident in those involved in PRO14…

“That comes from the intensity of being exposed to senior training where they try to train every bit as hard as match intensity and make sure they are in a good place to take their opportunities in match situation. It shows the hard work they have put in and the standards they are adhering to at senior training.”

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