Overreliance on St Michael's and Blackrock(?)

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Overreliance on St Michael's and Blackrock(?)

Post by Twist »

Just like the title says, really. I don't know enough about this to have a strong opinion myself but it's been raised in the press a bit lately that Ireland rely to a huge degree on Leinster to produce players, and those two schools are dramatically overrepresented at Leinster.

I think Furlong is now our only player who came through the club system? That's somewhat skewed by the fact that schools pick up guys late enough into their teens, like Carbery, but in general is our base of production to narrow or what?

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Re: Overreliance on St Michael's and Blackrock(?)

Post by backrower8 »

Yes it is has always been too narrow and has become much narrower in the last 10 years. But it requires hard cash and culture to broaden it and the schools (particularly a handful) are the gift that keeps on giving. Catch22

Genetically we are who we are, although even that will change as the decades roll on, and with the 5-year rule we will rely on our gene pool even more.

If we are to be a consistent top 1-6 country it comes back to finding a playing style that suits the Irish race. That for me means skills, skills, skills - which indirectly works better the more 4G pitches we have - which correlates to money-money-money.

Finally, all of the above must also be backed up by a safe playing environment or the kids won’t be allowed play and/or will exit the game earlier and earlier than they already do.

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Re: Overreliance on St Michael's and Blackrock(?)

Post by OTT »

For me I think if the quality of player coming through was not what it is then you could say we are over reliant but at the minute the Michael's and Rock guys (and the other players) are getting picked because they have huge potential, they are setting a really high celing of what it takes to get an academy place. Obviously the wider the selection base the better and getting guys from areas where rugby would not be prolific is important for improving the awareness in those areas and of our brand/team/sport but ultimately is it not most important to have the very best guys coming into the system? If an academy intake of 9 players all come from some club side in Laois (or wherever) or they all come from St Michael's does it matter if they are the best players getting selected. Mildly and others give us a scope of the playrs pushing for academy from club/schools and there are loads who miss out not because they are bad but because the bar is so high.

Keep pushing the new pathways, keep picking the best players.
Last edited by OTT on October 22nd, 2019, 12:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Overreliance on St Michael's and Blackrock(?)

Post by Dave Cahill »

Schools rugby is going to be out-evolved by the professional game. Provincial academies will take in players after the junior cycle and will add second-level functionality to their current third level status taking the intake through the senior cycle. I'd estimate that over the next decade to 15 years this will happen.

Basing our system on the current private school system is time-limited anyway. Its a bit like taxi drivers in the 80s who took out mortgages to buy plates. Sooner or later that market was going to be de-regulated and a similar shift is down the line for the private schools. All it would take is one hung Dail with the balance of power being held by the shinners or PBP. It would be ironic if a former Michaels boy were to sound the death knell.

Also, should this and all the other schools related stuff not be in the domestic rugby section?
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Re: Overreliance on St Michael's and Blackrock(?)

Post by backrower8 »

OTT wrote:For me I think if the quality of player coming through was not what it is then you could say we are over reliant but at the minute the Michael's and Rock guys (and the other players) are getting picked because they have huge potential, they are setting a really high celing of what it takes to get an academy place. Obviously the wider the selection base the better and getting guys from areas where rugby would not be prolific is important for improving the awareness in those areas and of our brand/team/sport but ultimately is it not most important to have the very best guys coming into the system? If an academy intake of 9 players all come from some club side in Laois (or wherever) or they all come from St Michael's does it matter if they are the best players getting selected. Mildly and others give us a scope of the playrs pushing for academy from club/schools and there are loads who miss out not because they are bad but because the bar is so high.

Keep pushing the new pathways, keep picking the best players.
Dave Cahill wrote:Schools rugby is going to be out-evolved by the professional game. Provincial academies will take in players after the junior cycle and will add second-level functionality to their current third level status taking the intake through the senior cycle. I'd estimate that over the next decade to 15 years this will happen.

Basing our system on the current private school system is time-limited anyway. Its a bit like taxi drivers in the 80s who took out mortgages to buy plates. Sooner or later that market was going to be de-regulated and a similar shift is down the line for the private schools. All it would take is one hung Dail with the balance of power being held by the shinners or PBP. It would be ironic if a former Michaels boy were to sound the death knell.

Also, should this and all the other schools related stuff not be in the domestic rugby section?
Dave Cahill wrote:Schools rugby is going to be out-evolved by the professional game. Provincial academies will take in players after the junior cycle and will add second-level functionality to their current third level status taking the intake through the senior cycle. I'd estimate that over the next decade to 15 years this will happen.

Basing our system on the current private school system is time-limited anyway. Its a bit like taxi drivers in the 80s who took out mortgages to buy plates. Sooner or later that market was going to be de-regulated and a similar shift is down the line for the private schools. All it would take is one hung Dail with the balance of power being held by the shinners or PBP. It would be ironic if a former Michaels boy were to sound the death knell.

Also, should this and all the other schools related stuff not be in the domestic rugby section?
This thread is about the supply and sourcing of players for the senior (professional) team, so I suggest that it is correctly positioned.

Are you saying that the IRFU’s plan is to dilute the strength of the private school supply of players or are you saying that they will be forced into it by political events?

If what you predict is to come about, through whatever set of circumstances, have you any feel for the financial implications and timeline for rebalancing the supply of players in this way? It seems to me that it would take a long time and a lot of investment (maybe Sport Ireland could be brought onboard as an investor).

The IRFU have a hard time running modest surpluses in what is a medium sized “business” of circa €85m revenues annually. Normally they clear a little over €1m out of that. Last year was a bumper year with a surplus of €3m.
Last edited by backrower8 on October 22nd, 2019, 2:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Overreliance on St Michael's and Blackrock(?)

Post by the spoofer »

I think it's quite clear that the LB have identified this as a problem. Hence the investment in the centres of excellence. We are likely to see more and more players coming through the club route and I'd expect this to be 50/50 in the next 10 years.

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Re: Overreliance on St Michael's and Blackrock(?)

Post by backrower8 »

the spoofer wrote:I think it's quite clear that the LB have identified this as a problem. Hence the investment in the centres of excellence. We are likely to see more and more players coming through the club route and I'd expect this to be 50/50 in the next 10 years.
The current numbers of Rugby Schools to Non-Rugby & Foreign are 24:12 (5 foreign) in the senior squad and 17:3 (2 foreign) in the Academy. So that is 8 out of 56 players coming from Irish non-rugby school environments.

I think it will take a lot longer than 10 years to outgrow that imbalance despite opening a few Centre’s of excellence.

By the way, I would prefer that we had a widespread base across the province and rebalancing away from rugby schools, and a few in particular, because that would be better for the game on many levels - once the best players are always picked.

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Re: Overreliance on St Michael's and Blackrock(?)

Post by the spoofer »

backrower8 wrote:
the spoofer wrote:I think it's quite clear that the LB have identified this as a problem. Hence the investment in the centres of excellence. We are likely to see more and more players coming through the club route and I'd expect this to be 50/50 in the next 10 years.
The current numbers of Rugby Schools to Non-Rugby & Foreign are 24:12 (5 foreign) in the senior squad and 17:3 (2 foreign) in the Academy. So that is 8 out of 56 players coming from Irish non-rugby school environments.

I think it will take a lot longer than 10 years to outgrow that imbalance despite opening a few Centre’s of excellence.

By the way, I would prefer that we had a widespread base across the province and rebalancing away from rugby schools, and a few in particular, because that would be better for the game on many levels - once the best players are always picked.
The development of club coaches and regional teams only got into full swing in the last 5-10 years. I have coached for years and 10 years ago none of the club lads would ever have considered a career or being considered for pro rugby. That has all changed. There are more and more lads coming out of the club system not quite academy ready but certainly sub academy ready. Infrastructure is definitely an issue. Lads from the country have to travel long distances to train with development teams often in places with rudimentary facilities. That is changing and as the club development setup becomes more professional, so will the players they produce.

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Re: Overreliance on St Michael's and Blackrock(?)

Post by backrower8 »

That’s good progress. It is still going to take decades to even reach a 50:50 split,which maybe should be the target?

The Ken Wall Centre of Excellence cost in Donnybrook €1.5m to build with IRFU, Sports Council & Private Investment. If IRFU put up half then that’s €750k which is about 50% of the Union’s usual annual profit. Then you have the cost of running them. You will also need investment in 4G pitches and floodlights. It will happen but more like 20+ years in my view.

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Re: Overreliance on St Michael's and Blackrock(?)

Post by IanD »

Genuine question.

As Colnkeen College and De La Salle Wicklow didn't have rugby teams I have no Ace to grind.

How many of the players on school rugby teams are on scholarships?

If cash runs out/low in particular schools will that mean better players going to other schools on scholarships.
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Re: Overreliance on St Michael's and Blackrock(?)

Post by neiliog93 »

backrower8 wrote:Yes it is has always been too narrow and has become much narrower in the last 10 years. But it requires hard cash and culture to broaden it and the schools (particularly a handful) are the gift that keeps on giving. Catch22

Genetically we are who we are, although even that will change as the decades roll on, and with the 5-year rule we will rely on our gene pool even more.

If we are to be a consistent top 1-6 country it comes back to finding a playing style that suits the Irish race. That for me means skills, skills, skills - which indirectly works better the more 4G pitches we have - which correlates to money-money-money.

Finally, all of the above must also be backed up by a safe playing environment or the kids won’t be allowed play and/or will exit the game earlier and earlier than they already do.
Ah now, less of this stuff about the 'Irish race'. I do agree in general that there are genetic differences between populations but Irish, English, Welsh and Scottish DNA is very, very similar (and that extends to people of European descent in Australia and New Zealand). French and Southern European people are generally of smaller and lighter build than Northern Europeans. The only players we are at a genetic disadvantage against are Pacific Islanders and possibly South Africans, but even then the latter are still Northern Europeans and the endemic steroid use from a young age is as responsible for their bulk as anything genetic.

The Barretts in New Zealand are as Irish as can be in appearance and lineage, and look at them fly.
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Re: Overreliance on St Michael's and Blackrock(?)

Post by blockhead »

While we're on the subject, we should try and get more of that recently arrived west African diaspora into rugby. They are a long way from private school education atm though. Naturally strong, athletic and fast, the fastest of all. Niyi Adeolokun could be a trailblazer.
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Re: Overreliance on St Michael's and Blackrock(?)

Post by neiliog93 »

blockhead wrote:While we're on the subject, we should try and get more of that recently arrived west African diaspora into rugby. They are a long way from private school education atm though. Naturally strong, athletic and fast, the fastest of all. Niyi Adeolokun could be a trailblazer.
Agreed - probably not as powerful as Polys but the best in pure speed. That kid Aidan Igiehon who's gone off to play college basketball in America (more than likely won't make the NBA or big money in one of the main European leagues) is a real specimen - 6'9"-6'10" and a lean and athletic 109kg at 19 years of age. In rugby terms could easily have matured into a fast, strong, mobile, 6'10" 120kg second row by 23 years of age. We can only dream...
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Re: Overreliance on St Michael's and Blackrock(?)

Post by backrower8 »

neiliog93 wrote:Ah now, less of this stuff about the 'Irish race'. I do agree in general that there are genetic differences between populations but Irish, English, Welsh and Scottish DNA is very, very similar (and that extends to people of European descent in Australia and New Zealand). French and Southern European people are generally of smaller and lighter build than Northern Europeans. The only players we are at a genetic disadvantage against are Pacific Islanders and possibly South Africans, but even then the latter are still Northern Europeans and the endemic steroid use from a young age is as responsible for their bulk as anything genetic.

The Barretts in New Zealand are as Irish as can be in appearance and lineage, and look at them fly.
You are right to point out that the Welsh & Scots are the same gene pool as us, population size too, but not about the rest of the teams you mention.

Before they ever had several players from outside their Original Caucasian population, England and France had bigger teams than us because they had 55million plus people to choose from. Nowadays they have more athletic ethnicities in their player pool AND, in France’s case, they source players Polynesia.

Australia and New Zealand both have wider and more athletic gene pools playing for them than we do.

I do think the genes matter but it as much as skills, strategy, culture and, most of all, the right mental approach.

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Re: Overreliance on St Michael's and Blackrock(?)

Post by UAEguy »

backrower8 wrote:
neiliog93 wrote:Ah now, less of this stuff about the 'Irish race'. I do agree in general that there are genetic differences between populations but Irish, English, Welsh and Scottish DNA is very, very similar (and that extends to people of European descent in Australia and New Zealand). French and Southern European people are generally of smaller and lighter build than Northern Europeans. The only players we are at a genetic disadvantage against are Pacific Islanders and possibly South Africans, but even then the latter are still Northern Europeans and the endemic steroid use from a young age is as responsible for their bulk as anything genetic.

The Barretts in New Zealand are as Irish as can be in appearance and lineage, and look at them fly.
You are right to point out that the Welsh & Scots are the same gene pool as us, population size too, but not about the rest of the teams you mention.

Before they ever had several players from outside their Original Caucasian population, England and France had bigger teams than us because they had 55million plus people to choose from. Nowadays they have more athletic ethnicities in their player pool AND, in France’s case, they source players Polynesia.

Australia and New Zealand both have wider and more athletic gene pools playing for them than we do.

I do think the genes matter but it as much as skills, strategy, culture and, most of all, the right mental approach.
Wish we had a face palm emoji. Ive some laughable excuses in the past about why we cant do this or that but "Genes"....now that tops it. One question, do the most of the Irish player's go through some process onroute to camp that extracts any of the gene's that stops them performing basic skills?

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Re: Overreliance on St Michael's and Blackrock(?)

Post by Blueberry »

In my eyes it's quite simple. Without the primarily south Dublin schools and their investment in the game we would be a tiny rugby power battling with Italy, Georgia etc and not at the top table.

This has become more and more pronounced in recent years, simply look at the current Ireland team and I can't see it changing in the near future.

Leinster has become a production line for Irish Rugby and that is largely built on the south Dublin schools. The facts are clear. Look across all the provinces and a significant chunk of players (someone no doubt can work it out) are coming from a small pool of these schools.

At the club level when it really matters (the 10-16 year old age group) we are losing players to GAA and other sports simply because the underage and club game is so badly run. Parents and kids get frustrated with parochial clubs, local politics, poor and non-existent coaching and a badly run club competition system which is chaotic, badly run and unclear. At a local club level the complaints are always the same from parents and coaches, a bad system of competitions covering things such as match scheduling, lack of refs, inconsistent rules, lack of structured competitions, poor coaching, limited resources etc etc. Kids & their parents as they progress through this vital age group need quality coaching and good quality or they often look elsewhere.

I have seen many talented players give up the game not because they don't love it but because it's a mess, poorly coached and badly run at a club level.

Of course these problems also affect other sports but from what I've seen of the club game at underage level in this country is it's often way off where it needs to be.

It's not easy of course to fix and I understand many of the people involved at the club game are volunteers and have their heart in the right place but they won't complain or look to change things as they don't want to rock the boat.

If the club game is not rationalized and reformed and modernised at a local level nothing will change and in essence Leinster Rugby will be the power behind Irish Rugby but really a front for a small number of fanatical rugby schools in South Dublin.

The thing that bothers me is every year we lose kids in the club game who could have gone on to become the next Sexton or O'Gara and I've seen it with my own eyes. Talented kids giving up the game.

The path of least resistance is to do nothing and the schools will continue to prop up the provincial teams and national team and things will still be okay but we are not maximizing our limited resources. That's really all I am saying......and for me it's something that the IRFU needs to look at as a matter or urgency but not with some top down approach but to get under the bonnet of the underage club game and totally change and restructure it.

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Re: Overreliance on St Michael's and Blackrock(?)

Post by Oldschool »

UAEguy wrote:
backrower8 wrote:
neiliog93 wrote:Ah now, less of this stuff about the 'Irish race'. I do agree in general that there are genetic differences between populations but Irish, English, Welsh and Scottish DNA is very, very similar (and that extends to people of European descent in Australia and New Zealand). French and Southern European people are generally of smaller and lighter build than Northern Europeans. The only players we are at a genetic disadvantage against are Pacific Islanders and possibly South Africans, but even then the latter are still Northern Europeans and the endemic steroid use from a young age is as responsible for their bulk as anything genetic.

The Barretts in New Zealand are as Irish as can be in appearance and lineage, and look at them fly.
You are right to point out that the Welsh & Scots are the same gene pool as us, population size too, but not about the rest of the teams you mention.

Before they ever had several players from outside their Original Caucasian population, England and France had bigger teams than us because they had 55million plus people to choose from. Nowadays they have more athletic ethnicities in their player pool AND, in France’s case, they source players Polynesia.

Australia and New Zealand both have wider and more athletic gene pools playing for them than we do.

I do think the genes matter but it as much as skills, strategy, culture and, most of all, the right mental approach.
Wish we had a face palm emoji. Ive some laughable excuses in the past about why we cant do this or that but "Genes"....now that tops it. One question, do the most of the Irish player's go through some process onroute to camp that extracts any of the gene's that stops them performing basic skills?
Maybe it's a lot simpler than that.
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Re: Overreliance on St Michael's and Blackrock(?)

Post by Oldschoolsocks »

UAEguy wrote:
backrower8 wrote:
neiliog93 wrote:Ah now, less of this stuff about the 'Irish race'. I do agree in general that there are genetic differences between populations but Irish, English, Welsh and Scottish DNA is very, very similar (and that extends to people of European descent in Australia and New Zealand). French and Southern European people are generally of smaller and lighter build than Northern Europeans. The only players we are at a genetic disadvantage against are Pacific Islanders and possibly South Africans, but even then the latter are still Northern Europeans and the endemic steroid use from a young age is as responsible for their bulk as anything genetic.

The Barretts in New Zealand are as Irish as can be in appearance and lineage, and look at them fly.
You are right to point out that the Welsh & Scots are the same gene pool as us, population size too, but not about the rest of the teams you mention.

Before they ever had several players from outside their Original Caucasian population, England and France had bigger teams than us because they had 55million plus people to choose from. Nowadays they have more athletic ethnicities in their player pool AND, in France’s case, they source players Polynesia.

Australia and New Zealand both have wider and more athletic gene pools playing for them than we do.

I do think the genes matter but it as much as skills, strategy, culture and, most of all, the right mental approach.
Wish we had a face palm emoji. Ive some laughable excuses in the past about why we cant do this or that but "Genes"....now that tops it. One question, do the most of the Irish player's go through some process onroute to camp that extracts any of the gene's that stops them performing basic skills?
Yup, the process of over coaching precision leaves them vulnerable to not being able to play what’s in front of them.

I mean clear the fvkin ruck out ffs lads

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Re: Overreliance on St Michael's and Blackrock(?)

Post by Oldschoolsocks »

Blueberry wrote:In my eyes it's quite simple. Without the primarily south Dublin schools and their investment in the game we would be a tiny rugby power battling with Italy, Georgia etc and not at the top table.

This has become more and more pronounced in recent years, simply look at the current Ireland team and I can't see it changing in the near future.

Leinster has become a production line for Irish Rugby and that is largely built on the south Dublin schools. The facts are clear. Look across all the provinces and a significant chunk of players (someone no doubt can work it out) are coming from a small pool of these schools.

At the club level when it really matters (the 10-16 year old age group) we are losing players to GAA and other sports simply because the underage and club game is so badly run. Parents and kids get frustrated with parochial clubs, local politics, poor and non-existent coaching and a badly run club competition system which is chaotic, badly run and unclear. At a local club level the complaints are always the same from parents and coaches, a bad system of competitions covering things such as match scheduling, lack of refs, inconsistent rules, lack of structured competitions, poor coaching, limited resources etc etc. Kids & their parents as they progress through this vital age group need quality coaching and good quality or they often look elsewhere.

I have seen many talented players give up the game not because they don't love it but because it's a mess, poorly coached and badly run at a club level.

Of course these problems also affect other sports but from what I've seen of the club game at underage level in this country is it's often way off where it needs to be.

It's not easy of course to fix and I understand many of the people involved at the club game are volunteers and have their heart in the right place but they won't complain or look to change things as they don't want to rock the boat.

If the club game is not rationalized and reformed and modernised at a local level nothing will change and in essence Leinster Rugby will be the power behind Irish Rugby but really a front for a small number of fanatical rugby schools in South Dublin.

The thing that bothers me is every year we lose kids in the club game who could have gone on to become the next Sexton or O'Gara and I've seen it with my own eyes. Talented kids giving up the game.

The path of least resistance is to do nothing and the schools will continue to prop up the provincial teams and national team and things will still be okay but we are not maximizing our limited resources. That's really all I am saying......and for me it's something that the IRFU needs to look at as a matter or urgency but not with some top down approach but to get under the bonnet of the underage club game and totally change and restructure it.
Yeah, my local rugby clubs suffer badly when compared to to local gaa clubs when it comes to kids competition and coaching, it’s getting better but still miles behind.

On the other hand when I asked an old coach why the club wasn’t trying to tap into probably the largest concentration of kids in the country he said the Leinster branch told them they couldn’t - whatever that means. It sure if I believed him or not tbh, but he still said it...

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Re: Overreliance on St Michael's and Blackrock(?)

Post by Oldschoolsocks »

Blueberry wrote:In my eyes it's quite simple. Without the primarily south Dublin schools and their investment in the game we would be a tiny rugby power battling with Italy, Georgia etc and not at the top table.

This has become more and more pronounced in recent years, simply look at the current Ireland team and I can't see it changing in the near future.

Leinster has become a production line for Irish Rugby and that is largely built on the south Dublin schools. The facts are clear. Look across all the provinces and a significant chunk of players (someone no doubt can work it out) are coming from a small pool of these schools.

At the club level when it really matters (the 10-16 year old age group) we are losing players to GAA and other sports simply because the underage and club game is so badly run. Parents and kids get frustrated with parochial clubs, local politics, poor and non-existent coaching and a badly run club competition system which is chaotic, badly run and unclear. At a local club level the complaints are always the same from parents and coaches, a bad system of competitions covering things such as match scheduling, lack of refs, inconsistent rules, lack of structured competitions, poor coaching, limited resources etc etc. Kids & their parents as they progress through this vital age group need quality coaching and good quality or they often look elsewhere.

I have seen many talented players give up the game not because they don't love it but because it's a mess, poorly coached and badly run at a club level.

Of course these problems also affect other sports but from what I've seen of the club game at underage level in this country is it's often way off where it needs to be.

It's not easy of course to fix and I understand many of the people involved at the club game are volunteers and have their heart in the right place but they won't complain or look to change things as they don't want to rock the boat.

If the club game is not rationalized and reformed and modernised at a local level nothing will change and in essence Leinster Rugby will be the power behind Irish Rugby but really a front for a small number of fanatical rugby schools in South Dublin.

The thing that bothers me is every year we lose kids in the club game who could have gone on to become the next Sexton or O'Gara and I've seen it with my own eyes. Talented kids giving up the game.

The path of least resistance is to do nothing and the schools will continue to prop up the provincial teams and national team and things will still be okay but we are not maximizing our limited resources. That's really all I am saying......and for me it's something that the IRFU needs to look at as a matter or urgency but not with some top down approach but to get under the bonnet of the underage club game and totally change and restructure it.
Yeah, my local rugby clubs suffer badly when compared to to local gaa clubs when it comes to kids competition and coaching, it’s getting better but still miles behind.

On the other hand when I asked an old coach why the club wasn’t trying to tap into probably the largest concentration of kids in the country he said the Leinster branch told them they couldn’t - whatever that means. It sure if I believed him or not tbh, but he still said it...

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