Greencore Munster Rugby Academy Update
1st March 2018 By The Editor
Elie Player Development Manager and Munster A Head Coach Peter Malone looks back on an action-packed month for the Greencore Munster Rugby Academy.
In the last four weeks, Academy players have excelled for the high-flying Munster clubs in the All Ireland League, played their part in the Ireland U20s’ 6 Nations campaign, and helped the Munster A/Development side to a big win over Germany’s Wild Titans in UL.
Beating the Wild Titans 66-19 last week…
“We put up a good score. They were very physical with a big South African presence in their group – Mouritz Botha is their Head Coach and he’s a former international.
“They’re trying to get professional rugby up and running in Germany, the owner of the Capri Sun company is basically bankrolling their team. While they were physical and organised, we found that once we got to three or four phases that we were probably just that bit above them rugby-wise.
“It was a good run-out for lads possibly in the mix for the B&I Cup quarter-final, just to get a Munster jersey on and get used to our plays and patterns. It didn’t clash with any AIL games and was a good fixture to take. Even though the scoreline would say it was a comfortable win, the fact that these guys were physical, big and professional was a good learning for our lads as well.”
Munster players in 6 Nations action for the Ireland U20s…
“We have got a reasonable number of players that have featured in the Six Nations so far and I think a few of the lads stood up really well.
“James McCarthy was Man of the Match against Italy and Jack O’Sullivan was Man of the Match against Wales. James didn’t get as much ball last week but I was very impressed with Jack, I felt he worked hard throughout the game, carried well and took his try superbly. James French came on off the bench and, unfortunately, Diarmuid Barron didn’t get much game time. Dave McCarthy played against Scotland in the opening game as well. I know results have been disappointing but, for us and Irish rugby, you’re always looking at the seven or eight players that you are able to pluck out of the Irish U20s team that can play professional rugby and we’re hopeful that a few of those lads will be Munster players.”
Munster clubs flying high in the All Ireland League…
“I think it’s massive for Munster Rugby. I went to watch Cork Con play Young Munster in Tom Clifford Park two weeks ago and it was nearly a throwback to the old days of the All Ireland League – really physical, two teams really battling it out to try and get the win to put them into the play-off picture.
“Young Munster snuck it but it was a good physical battle and good learning for our guys. I always say it, club rugby is great and where our young players play most of their rugby before they get into the senior squad so it’s important for us that they perform at that level.
“From a Munster point of view overall, it’s great that our clubs are doing so well. It’s probably for a host of reasons, I think the economy is turning and more players are staying around now so the age profile has gone up a small bit in our clubs. Garryowen, Cork Con and Young Munster are certainly very competitive in Division 1A and hopefully two of those get to the semi-finals. Shannon are going very well in Division 1B and UCC too so it’s very positive for us all.”
“Liam O’Connor had to do some intensive rehab to build his knee up ahead of his surgery, which he underwent two weeks ago, and is out for the season. That’s obviously disappointing for Liam but he’s contracted to the senior team next season and hopefully he will come back stronger.
“Fineen Wycherley got injured playing against the Wild Titans last Thursday night. He went over on his ankle early in the game so it looks like that will be a six to 10 week injury but we’re not too sure yet although he will need an operation on it.
“Daniel Hurley is rehabbing a thumb injury at the moment and there’s no timeline on when he’ll return, the bone has to heal a certain way so unfortunately it will be a while longer before he gets back.”