9 Dec, 19:48
Munster are delighted to announce the signing of highly-rated Cardiff Blues utility forward Robin Copeland.
In April the Limerick winger made his RaboDirect PRO12 debut, scoring a try against Newport Gwent Dragons and in May he was one of three players nominated for Academy Player of the Year. The 24 year old now progresses to the next stage with his academy colleagues Cian Bohane, Duncan Casey, James Cronin and Niall Scannell.
"I’m absolutely delighted to push on. It was a tough year with a lot of games. A good run of no injuries really helped me as well and really gave me confidence in my game. We’d a good run in the B&I and unfortunately couldn’t win the semis against Leinster. It’s those A games that really help you progress and it’s a great stepping stone especially for young fellas like myself. It really lets you play at a great level playing against strong Championship sides every couple of weeks and it really helps your game.
My first year and a half in the Academy I was struggling with a couple of injuries and was held back a bit. But fortunately enough I’ve had a good run with no injuries, and with Garryowen I’ve been playing week in week out also. Tom Tierney came in as Head Coach and he was fantastic with me, a real mentor to me, and then Cossie with the A's also. With good lads around you, and playing on good sides it really helps your rugby and you get good confidence out of it.
Advancing with your friends is great, and overall it’s just a really friendly environment to be in at Munster. I get on with everyone in the squad and no matter if you’re in the academy or with the seniors it’s just a great atmosphere to be in.
It’s not daunting making the step up and that's helped by being involved with the A team, as we train a lot with the seniors. I’m just looking forward to getting a really good season in now and pushing for a place in the side.
"I’ve always looked up to Barry, he was two years ahead of me in school and always a step ahead of me and I always wanted to achieve what he did. I was absolutely thrilled for him to get back in last year with a development contract and I’m delighted now I got one also so I just hope we can both push on next season and make a name for ourselves.
Our parents are thrilled and over the moon. We’ve been working towards this for so many years and they are very proud of us as well."
"With three years of the Academy, you know you’re going to go through a lot of ups and downs and at times you think about throwing in the towel but if you just stick with it and keep the head down and keep working hard it pays off. I think with the academy you’ll get out as much as you put into it. It’s your own effort that will get you where you want to be.
Hard work, and just sticking at it, just never taking the eye off the prize worked out for me. If you work hard there is something there at the end for it. To get nominated for Academy Player of the Year, pulling on the jersey for that first senior cap against Dragons – it was all unbelievable."
"It’s hard to explain, in the build-up to it I was just inside my own head all week and the minute I stepped on to the field looking at the lads around me and the calibre of players you feel comfortable and you know you are there for a reason, and that you are there to do a job. Getting a try and the 80 minutes under my belt, and the second start against Zebre, it was all just a great way to finish out the season for me and I was really happy with it all!"