London Irish RFC - both the amateur and professional clubs - recently unveiled a new training facility in Hazelwood. The event was attended by IRFU President Louis Magee to mark both the event and a significant family connection.
The Exiles' Screening process is in the process of change and adaptation, to reflect the current demands and needs of young players. The annual Screening Camp will be replaced by Festival Days.
The new process revolves around a constant screening process where young players can attend the festival days in their area and from this get selected into Exiles' regional age-group teams. Players may not be able to attend a festival day (for whatever reason) to gain selection but that would be the ideal pathway.
We have four regional teams proposed for next season, which will be:
NORTH - North of England, North Wales, and Scotland
MIDLANDS - Midlands and South Wales
SOUTH EAST - South East of England
SOUTH WEST - South West of England
We propose to run two festival days in each region per season. These will be open to any Irish qualified player within the 15 and 16 age bands.
The regional fixtures will then create the opportunity to look at players for full Exiles fixtures, especially the interprovincials, although players who play for the respective regional side will be still be classed as being Exiles' representatives and not just as trialists.
We will continue to have our National Assessment Camp at Easter with the view to having seen at least 95% of the players; hence, inviting the best of what we have seen and from this beginning the selection process of the interprovincial squads.
Older players who put themselves forward, depending on the information they give us, will be brought in and looked at in some of our non-interprovincial games throughout the season.
To reiterate, the driving force behind this change is to have a continual screening process where players have more opportunities to be looked at rather than just at one screening camp.