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Greencore Munster Rugby Academy Update | October 2020

29th October 2020 By The Editor

Academy prop Josh Wycherley made his Munster debut on Monday night.

Academy prop Josh Wycherley made his Munster debut on Monday night. Inpho

Elite Player Development Officer Greig Oliver takes a look back on the last month in the Greencore Munster Rugby Academy.

Due to Covid-19, the majority of the Academy players were based at Thomond Park for their pre-season training programme instead of their usual base alongside the seniors in the HPC.

The Academy returned to the HPC last month and three players have made appearances in the opening three games of the Guinness PRO14.

Out-half Ben Healy has made a big impression in all three games with flanker John Hodnett starting against Cardiff on Monday as prop Josh Wycherley made his senior debut against the Blues.

On the injury front, back three player Jonathan Wren suffered a minor hamstring injury in action for the Munster 7s earlier this month. Prop James French (neck) and lock Eoin O’Connor (knee) are continuing to rehab.

See the latest from Greig below.

See our Academy player profiles here.

Debut for Josh Wycherley…

“Josh worked extremely hard over the summer and has really put himself up there amongst the players in the senior squad. Everybody is delighted for Josh because you can see the work he puts in on and off the field.

“It was great to see him on the park on Monday night alongside his brother Fineen so it’s fantastic for Josh and it just shows that hard work pays off and he’s the epitome of that.”

Josh Wycherley with brother Fineen after making his senior debut.

Josh Wycherley with brother Fineen after making his senior debut.

Ben Healy & John Hodnett impressing…

“Ben is a very talented boy, kicks off both feet and he’s very confident on the ball. He has worked really hard and he gets every ounce out of every coach which is a great thing for him. He spends a lot of time with every coach and he’s worked really hard to get to where he is.

“He has had a few setbacks along the road but that has made him a more resilient player.

“John is dynamic. He has done well at UCC and he’s one of those players who has the knack of being in the right place and doing the right thing at the right time. He has been really influential for the seniors when he’s played so it’s fantastic to see these players breaking through and there are more Academy lads knocking on the door.”

John Hodnett in action against Cardiff Blues.

Seán French at training last week.

Developing the players…

“We are working hard with the group and making sure they better themselves at this time.

“They obviously can’t play AIL rugby right now [due to the suspension of the club season] and that’s a pity because playing club rugby is always really beneficial for them – it hardens them up to be in the position to put themselves forward for senior representation.

“But we got really individual with them during pre-season [at Thomond Park] and that’s propelled them back into senior training very well. That’s been good for them and they are flying.”

The IRFU Sevens Tournament earlier this month…

“Sevens rugby is really quick, your reactions have to be quicker and everything is so much faster – even reacting to refereeing decisions.

“It does highlight your individual skills and the players really bought into it. Mentally you need to be prepared for how quick the games are.

“The first game against the senior Ireland 7s team was the toughest because they are obviously training full-time in Sevens.

“There were some good individual performances from Eoghan Clarke, Jack Crowley and Matt Gallagher among others.

New recruits settling in well…

“Scott Buckley came out of CBC and missed a lot of last year through injury but he has propelled really quickly into a hardened player. He has that physical aspect that you look for.

“Alex Kendellen is in great shape and it’s testament to the work he did in PBC and he’s just a great individual who has an exciting future.

“Jack Crowley came up through the ranks of Bandon RFC and Bandon Grammar, he has great vision and the big thing for me is his work ethic – on and off the pitch. He really analyses his game and wants to better himself in every way.”

Alex Kendellen in action for Munster A against Connacht Eagles last month.


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