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HETAC Recognises Munster Rugby Diploma
5 May 2006, 3:01 pm
The Higher Education and Training Awards Council (HETAC) has validated the Diploma in Professional Rugby programme run by Munster Rugby for its Academy players

HETAC recognises Munster Academy s Diploma in Professional Rugby

The European Champions Rugby Academy has developed a world class, holistic programme that addresses the fitness, rugby, lifestyle and psychological needs of young elite players S amus Puirs il, CEO, HETAC.

The Higher Education and Training Awards Council (HETAC) has announced that it has validated the Diploma in Professional Rugby programme run by Munster Rugby for its Academy players and will recognise the award at Level 7 on the National Framework of Qualifications. A bachelor degree is also placed at Level 7.

The aim of the Munster Academy is to develop quality rugby players to play for the province the current European champions. The Academy is a non-profit training institute charged with the development of young and emerging talent from schools rugby. The three year, part-time, Academy programme develops the student in all areas of sporting competences whilst affording him time to fulfil his academic ambitions. All Academy players are also in third level education or a trade apprenticeship. The Academy programme began in 2004 and takes on up to seven players each September. It will have 20 students from July 1st this year.

Players in the Academy aim to become professionals with Munster. To advance these prospects, the Diploma programme provides players with the mental and physical skills, information and supports to adapt to the professional game and become accomplished professional players.

To qualify for entry onto the programme, a player must have the potential to play senior international rugby and be willing to undertake and complete the programme. Munster Rugby s elite player development programme monitors potentially suitable players from under 16 level upwards and Academy participants are recruited through a talent identification programme, an interview and a full medical and musculoskeletal examination.

On completion of the programme, players will be competent and have gained sufficient knowledge in all components of rugby rugby technical, tactical, generic, fitness, lifestyle and psychological skills. This involves continuous assessments and monitoring progress while they are involved in the programme.

The Academy operates from both Col iste Stiof in Naofa in Cork and the University of Limerick. It is managed by Hamish Adams, a former provincial player in New Zealand, a Masters degree holder in sports psychology and former head coach with Dolphin RFC.

Making the announcement, S amus Puirs il, Chief Executive of HETAC said:

With the success of Munster, and the development of rugby generally, a professional career is a steadily growing option for a small number of elite sports people. However, we also recognise that it is not a long term career, which is why we have worked closely with the Munster Academy to develop quality procedures that help players prepare for alternative career paths and develop rounded skills. This gives players additional career opportunities when retiring from the game or if, for whatever reason, a professional career does not materialise or is suddenly ended.

The Munster Academy has developed a world class, holistic programme that addresses the fitness, rugby, lifestyle and psychological needs of the young elite players that will undertake the programme. It has also put in place the teaching and administrative supports to ensure that the content of the curriculum is world class in both sporting and educational terms .

Munster Chief Executive Garrett Fitzgerald added: "I would like to compliment the hard work undertaken by everyone associated with Munster Rugby - but particularly Hamish Adams and Donal Lenihan, our Academy chairman - for preparing the way towards applying for this award. Since the advent of professionalism, there has been an increased onus not just on performances on the field but on how players behave off it. It is vital that players receive the best all-round education to develop their personal as well as their playing skills. I believe that if we achieve this award - with its wide and varied curriculum it will help to nurture the future stars of the Munster and Ireland senior panels."

PICTURE AT THE ANNOUNCEMENT THAT HETAC HAS RECOGNISED THE MUNUSTER ACADEMY'S DIPLOMA IN PROFESSIONAL RUGBY ARE:

(STANDING LEFT TO RIGHT) DONAL LENIHAN, CHAIRMAN OF THE MUNSTER ACADEMY, SEAMUS PUIRSEIL, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OF HETAC AND

MUNSTER AND IRELAND STAR JOHN KELLY. ON THE GROUND ARE MUNSTER ACADEMY PLAYERS MICHAEL ESSEX AND DARRAGH HURLEY.

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