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Academy Update

2nd December 2013 By Munster Rugby

Academy Update

In the build-up to this month’s British and Irish Cup double-header against Plymouth Albion we caught up with Elite Player Development Manager and Munster A Head Coach Peter Malone.

Plymouth away this weekend……

“At this stage as coaches we’re just putting together the preparations, looking at the Plymouth videos together and making sure everything is spot on.

“Playing wise we come together as a squad this week, we’ll wait until the Heineken Cup squad is selected and then the A team comes together.

”You have the usual mixture of academy and senior players and possibly one or two club players and we’re looking forward to it.

Plymouth are going reasonably well in the Championship at the moment, they’re a big physical team and certainly playing away from home is a great challenge and exactly the kind of challenge that we should be putting our young players through.”

Johnny Holland making his senior debut against Cardiff Blues……

“I'm delighted for Johnny, it's well deserved. He’s trained hard and done a lot of training with the seniors this year, in essence he’s probably the third choice out-half in Munster.

“He made his debut and the important thing for Johnny now is that he kicks on and gets many more and really challenges himself to improve over the next nine months and challenges the two lads ahead of him but I’m delighted he got his first cap.

“Sometimes guys can be in the academy and think they’re miles away, one injury, one issue, one suspension and suddenly you could be transported pretty quickly up into the RaboDirect squad and be challenged at a very high level.

“The mantra we always preach is when that chance comes, it’ll come pretty quickly and you better be ready to take it.”

Club involvement…….

“Even though it’s a young academy, we’ve got most of our younger players playing for their AIL team.

“Guys like Alex Wootton with Garryowen, Jack Cullen with Bruff, Greg O’Shea and Gearoid Lyons with Shannon have togged out and played a good number of games so guys are getting the game time and putting the training in so hopefully we’ll see the benefits.”

Leinster postponement……

“Very disappointed, we need to play these games, they’re a high standard and they challenge our young academy players.

“A lot of guys would have been looking forward to that game and they missed out but it’s out of our control.

“Two of our A games have been cancelled , Ulster away and against Leinster in Clonmel and it’s disappointing for Clonmel as well because I know they put a lot of effort in to get the club right and they missed out as well, unfortunately.”

Playing in Waterford’s Regional Sports Centre against Plymouth on Friday, December 13……..

“We played there a few years ago and it’s a great facility, it’s a nice little stadium with a sports track around it so it’s a good environment to play in and the pitch is absolutely perfect there.

“It’s nice to play in different venues around the province and bring the game to different parts of the province so we’re looking forward to that.

This month……

“They’re going to work hard, a lot of them have Christmas exams, they’ll play AIL or they’ll play Munster A and a lot of those guys will go into Irish camps over Christmas too.

“There are two Irish Under 20 camps which we’ll have eight or nine players involved in, there’s an Irish Under 19s camp and the Irish Under 19s are going to play Australia as well in Belfast.

"The Munster Under 19s are going to play Australia at Thomond Park on Tuesday, December 17 so there’s a few interprovincial games they have to look forward to outside of the academy.

“Guys will be playing a lot of rugby, then they’ll have a well-earned break for a week and try to catch their breath over Christmas. “

The injury front…..

“There are usually a lot of bumps and bruises at this stage of the season. Niall Kenneally has been out injured for a few weeks now, he picked up a bang on his shoulder playing for Cork Con against Dolphin. He should be back for next weekend either for the Cork Con game or the Munster A game, if selected.

Harry McNulty is coming back this weekend, he’s been out for a few weeks with concussion after he got a bang on the head and he’s taking the full three week protocol which is standard now, so we decided to give him that full three weeks.

Seán MCarthy and John Madigan are both nursing injuries that have kept them out for pretty long periods at this stage, Seán has a knee injury and John a groin injury.

“We’re hopeful Seán will be back in the next 2-3 weeks but again you don’t know, John Madigan is back training this week and again there’s no time frame on his return.

”There’s no pressure, it’s a long-term groin injury so we just have to manage it very carefully, other than that we’re in reasonably good nick.”


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