19 May, 11:13
There are six uncapped players in the Ireland squad for the summer tour to North America that was named this morning. An Emerging Ireland squad has also been selected for the Tblisi Cup in Georgia.
While the majority of the Camp was taken up with skills/techniques sessions, the players competed in conditioned games giving them the opportunity to express their rugby ability and enjoy the team environment. Talks on 'The prevention of Injuries' by Neil Boyd, our resident physio, and 'Rugby & Education' by Mark Blair, Exiles Manager and Allen Clarke, IRFU High Performance Manager, were included in the programme.
The latter was aimed at making our young players focus on their lifestyle (university, etc.) as part of their personal development - in line with the IRFU strategy. A highlight of the weekend was an Exiles rugby quiz based on Exiles and
Irish rugby knowledge in which all the players showed an extensive rugby awareness.
The coaching team was headed up by Allen Clarke (IRFU High Performance Manager), assisted by Jonathan Bell (Ulster Branch Elite Player Development Officer) and Exiles' Head Coach Peter Halsall, supported by fellow Exiles Kevan Bell, Andrew Browne, Brian Farrell, Henry Diamond, John Skurr and Simon Mason. The breadth of knowledge on the coaching team meant that every technical aspect, was covered by a 'specialist', while on the organisational side we were indebted to Noel Traynor.
Players showed up well with the Ireland U18 coaching and management team asking that 16 players at U18 be included in our squad that will tour Ireland in late August. A new standard has been set this season with both a large
number of players and the high standard of player available. With this in mind we are looking to improve the screening process for next year.