7 Dec, 16:58
Retired Munster Rugby captain and former All Black Doug Howlett is back on board with the province as a Corporate Ambassador.
“They are all good now, settling in well. Most of them were involved with the U20s squad and the U19s so they’ve trained hard over the summer, went through the Interpro series and they are now getting back into the routine of academy training, college and club rugby. The young guys are all fit and ready to go.”
“Johnny Holland, Rory Scannell and Shane Buckley, to name a few, were some of the guys that were training with the senior squad for the summer which was a great opportunity for them, and they all took their chances. As things happen, everything tightens up as you get closer to Heineken Cup rugby but certainly the academy players will come in and out of the senior squad when the time is right throughout the season.
They all did really well with their pre-season action, benefitted from it and I think they are better players off the back of that involvement.”
Munster A v Connacht Eagles....
“That’s the beauty of the A games – especially the extra games we play against Connacht, Leinster and Ulster. You can cast your net a bit wider, and guys get the opportunity to show whether they are good enough to step up to the next level. There are club players there – Paddy Ryan at prop, Niall Kenneally did well, Steve Hansel came on – there were a lot of good guys that got a chance and they took it.”
“The results are disappointing. Not to hide behind anything but you would say the performances were pretty close. For the U20s – 3 points against Ulster in a last minute penalty, 1 point against Leinster – a missed conversion, late penalty kick missed – good performances, and then probably a lack of energy against Connacht.
They are disappointing results but I’d like to feel we are going in the right direction. There’s no one here saying it is acceptable to lose those games but we are still developing players to go on and play professional rugby.”
Academy Players Coming Through....
“Duncan Casey, Cian Bohane, James Cronin, Ronan O’Mahony and Niall Scannell are the most recent graduates into the senior cylce. They have each taken their chances and done pretty well. We are constantly pushing for quality – that’s the big thing – we’re putting top class players through to the senior squad and the players that are going up are pushing the senior players.
James Cronin, Ronan O’Mahony – they are not just going up to fill spaces, they have really pushed on and done well so we need to just keep continuing with that positive development.”
Academy Staff Changes....
“Feargal O’Callaghan, who was the Strength and Conditioning Coach for the Academy is now covering Coach Education across the whole of Munster, and also the underage rugby set-up so he is looking after the physical conditioning of all the underage players that we see that have potential, the Munster U20s, U19s, U18s, and some players that we identify as potentially talented players.
Cedric Unholz comes in as the Academy Strength and Conditioning Lead, working across Limerick and Cork, and Joe McGinley will work with Cedric in covering the Academy.”
“Coming up is the B&I Cup, and there is an Irish U20s camp this week also so there is a good few guys involved in both. The B&I Cup is great, it mirrors the Heineken Cup so it is high intensity for two weeks.
It gives younger guys opportunities, it gives senior guys game time, and it gives academy guys the chance to step up and is also a chance to wear the Munster jersey which is a huge honour for any player.
Colm (McMahon), Greig (Oliver) and I are delighted to be involved. It's a step up for us coaching wise and we are looking forward to it.”