Itâ00s going to be an exciting time for both the head coach and the national squad as a number of new plans are in place to boost Irelandâ00s preparation for the Six Nations competition.
In December a week long training session in northern Spain has been organised â00 the first time the squad will take part in a camp of this nature â00 and the home Six Nations game have all been moved to Friday nights under lights at St. Maryâ00s. This is a welcome change and it should ensure a larger support base.
Following the recent Interprovincial campaign we should also see a number of new faces on the Irish squad. The competitiveness of the final games of this yearâ00s competition, which both came down to just a score, highlighted the difficulties there will be in deciding between players for certain positions. At backrow and at centre there are massive options for the head coach but there are places up for grabs elsewhere.
The Cobh based Irish coach John Oâ00Sullivan is happy with the standards that were on show over the course of the provincial series as he attended every game and a number of training sessions.
â00I was happy with the progression of the players. There were notable improvements in some well known players and there were also a lot of newer players putting their hands up. Iâ00m going to see a game in Dublin this weekend because there are a number of tight decisions to be made that I havenâ00t made my mind up on yet. Weâ00ll take 35 players on board for two sessions in November and whittle that down to 26 then before we go to Spain.â0
Itâ00s Oâ00Sullivanâ00s second Six Nations campaign with Ireland but this yearâ00s buildup has no comparison with 12 months ago.
â00I was appointed Irish coach last year in November with just one Interpro game to play so I didnâ00t get much preparation time. We didnâ00t have the November sessions which we do now so that will make a huge difference I feel. A week in Spain with the squad where we hope to play two games will be another boost and we have three home games this year against Italy, Wales and Scotland which will benefit us as opposed to a lot of travelling.â0
Playing the home games at St Maryâ00s this season should also prove beneficial he added.
â00For a lot of reasons moving the womenâ00s games to Friday nights will be a positive thing. The girls will have to take more time off work for sure which is hard but it gets us into a routine and it also means they get to go to see the menâ00s games and we have a better shot at getting a good crowd. St. Maryâ00s is a good venue for games under lights. Things have also changed for us in an organisation capacity with the IRFU coming on board and taking over planning issues such as hotel bookings, and flight details and that really makes a massive difference to our preparation.â0
*Ireland's Six Nations games will all be played under lights on the Friday nights of Six Nations weekends at St Mary's.
*Ireland will travel to Spain in December for a one-week training prep - the first time a camp of this nature has taken place
*Irish extended squad to be named on Monday.