Munster coach Declan Kidney has lent his support to the ongoing Under-18 Six Nations Festival in Cork. Kidney paid a visit to the Irish team hotel on Thursday morning where players from every participating squad in the Festival were taking in a presentation from the Irish Sports Council’s Anti-Doping Unit.
Declan Kidney, himself a former Ireland Schools and Under-19 World championship-winning coach, said the Festival experience would stand to the emerging young players as they progressed in the coming years.
“It’s a great opportunity for them as developing players. Doing it in this environment as we where it’s not a ‘winner takes all’ situation is also something that will benefit them,” Kidney said.
“Just because the game has turned professional doesn’t mean that players shouldn’t have the older values of rugby instilled in them and you will certainly get that in events such as this.”
He added that high level rugby for younger players would be key for their development.
“So many of the provincial players have come through these structures and it’s an invaluable part of their development process.
“It’s a great opportunity for them. On the one hand they give it their best shot and, on the other, they’ll enjoy their experience.”
As the teams recovered from their opening games of the tournament where England overwhelmed Italy, Scotland overcame France and Ireland lost to Wales, they were given a presentation from the Anti-Doping Unit of the Irish Sports Council (ISC).
The presentation was made by Professor Brendan Buckley, chair of the ISC Anti-Doping committee, Dr. Una May, manager of the ISC Anti-Doping Unit and Education executive Ailish Keaveney.
Dr. May said it provided players with some essential information.
“For many of them this will be their first time experiencing drug testing and we provided them with essential advice and information as well as details about their rights and responsibilities in the area,” she said.
“Elite athletes are regularly drug tested and as these players progress in their rugby careers, it’s important they know as much as they can on the subject.”
The teams to play in Saturday’s second round games will be announced here on IrishRugby.ie tomorrow.