Being new to management with a Munster Rugby age grade team, what are your first impressions of our rugby programme and in particular the Munster Rugby Talent Camp in Rockwell College?
The Talent Camp is an excellent concept. It will definitely promote a strong team ethos as well as build on the core skills required of a developing rugby player. There is a balanced approach focussing on player specific skills, strength & conditioning and team building and this can only benefit the player. The coaching and S&C staff are very motivated and this will definitely have the desired effect on the respective teams. All this in the idyllic surroundings of Rockwell College - this is a perfect setting.
How did the Munster U19 Management Team select their squad of 26 to take part in the Talent Camp?
When I joined the management team in December 2012 a squad of 70 plus players had been identified. The coaching staff still however attended the weekly games not only looking at the players already identified but also scouting for new talent. Trial matches were organised as well as games against Connacht, Leinster and Ulster. It was very beneficial to have played these games as the coaching staff could view the players under match conditions. The squad was eventually whittled down to 36 by the first week of April. A charity match was scheduled against the Schools Senior cup winners and the final 26 was announced at the end of April.
How are Munster U19 preparations going so far at Rockwell College?
We are now in our second week and the preparations are going well. We are struggling with a few niggling injuries which can be disruptive but glad to say that the coaching staff are working around this. There is a good atmosphere in the camp and the players appear to be enjoying the experience. The weather is playing along as well...!
What do you see as your biggest challenge for the upcoming interprovincial campaign?
We have to remain confident and believe in our ability to compete at the highest level and I would not be overly concerned about any particular aspect for the inter-pros. We are however playing both Connacht and Ulster away. These are both long trips which could prove to be very challenging on the day.
Munster U19's will travel to London where they take on the Exiles on Sunday, 11th August in their first of four Interprovincial warm-up friendly matches ahead of their Interprovincial Series.
Munster U19 Management Team
Manager: Gary Collins
Head Coach: Keith Murphy
Assistant Coach (Forwards): Brendan O'Connor
Assistant Coach (Backs): Ben Martin
Technical Assistant: Ultan O'Callaghan
Strength & Conditioning: Gordon Brett
Kit Manager: Jim Crowley
Video Analyst: Gill Bourke
Physio: Patrick Hanley
Interprovincial Warm Up Matches
Sunday, 11th August Exiles U19 v Munster U19 (Away - Venue TBC)
Friday, 16th August Munster U19 v Italy U19 (Home - Venue TBC)
Monday, 19th August Leicester U19 v Munster U19 (Away - Venue TBC)
Friday, 23rd August Cardiff U19 v Munster U19 (Away - Venue TBC)
Munster U19 Interprovincial Fixtures
Saturday, 7th September Ulster U19 v Munster U19 (Away - Venue TBC)
Saturday, 14th September Munster U19 v Leinster U19 (Home - Venue TBC)
Saturday, 21st September Connacht U19 v Munster U19 (Away - Venue TBC)