18 May, 11:09
IRFU Chief Executive Philip Browne has issued a statement following confirmation of Ronan O'Gara's decision to retire from playing professional rugby.
Spala has been an integral part of the Ireland team's preseason training programme and was first used in 2001. The training facilities include swimming pools, a full sized indoor athletics arena with a reduced impact surface; power and weight-lifting facilities and an outdoor running track and a rugby pitch. It also has the now famous cryotherapy facility which is a large freezing chamber that speeds up recovery from the fatigue of training.
Following their return from Spala on July 14th, the players will continue their conditioning programmes in their provincial training centres under the guidance of the Irish team & provincial fitness staff.
The next camp for the squad will be the second half and final part to the tournament preparations. The team will join up in Limerick on July 29th and they will remain together in camp for the warm up games against Scotland (Murrayfield, August 11th) and Italy (Ravenhill, August 24th) right up until departure for the tournament on September 5th.
The panel will be reduced to the final Rugby World Cup 30 man squad after the Scotland game on Sunday, August 12th, ahead of the IRB deadline of August 14th.
Speaking about the squad's preparations, Ireland Coach Eddie O'Sullivan said, "Spala has been an important part of our preparations for the last number of seasons and allows the players to train harder, but more importantly recover more quickly from their physical exertion. The players who did not tour Argentina responded well to their first camp, so we have hit the ground running in our preparations."
"The shorter off season and less preparation time means we have to be careful how we manage the players, so the preseason programme is very important. After the Spala trips, we will be heading into more rugby specific preparation when we have our first Rugby World Cup camp at the end of July. By that stage we will be into test match mode for our final two warm up games and after that into the tournament itself, so it is really only around the corner."
June 16th - 23rd: Spala Camp Poland (Non Argentina tour members)
June 25th - July 6th: Conditioning programme in Provincial centres
July 7th - 14th: Spala, Poland (Previous Spala group and Argentina tour squad)
July 15th - 28th: Conditioning programme in provincial centres
July 29th - August 3rd: Full Rugby camp (Limerick)
August 5th - 11th: Rugby Camp (Dublin). Ireland v Scotland, Saturday 11th August
August 12th - 17th: Warm Weather Camp, Capbreton (France)
August 19th - 24th: Rugby Camp (Belfast). Ireland v Italy, Friday 24th August
August 26th - 31st: Rugby Camp (Dublin)
September 3rd - 5th: RWC Assembly (Dublin). Depart for Bordeaux September 5th