The first graduates in the HETAC Programme – Diploma in Professional Rugby – from the Leinster Academy received their parchments at a ceremony in the RDS on Wednesday afternoon.
The Diploma in Professional Rugby programme is the first of its kind in Europe and has been ongoing for the past three years.
It coves the following modules – Rugby Practical, Rugby Theory, Fitness Practical, Fitness Theory, Sports Psychology and Lifestyle.
Colin Moran and Stephen Aboud of the Irish Rugby Football Union, in conjunction with Philip Lawlor and Colin McEntee of Leinster Rugby, designed the concept.
Representatives from the IRFU and Leinster Rugby, including IRFU President John Lyons and Leinster Branch President Des Kavanagh, were in attendance at the graduation ceremony in the RDS.
Speaking after the ceremony, Leinster Academy Manager Colin McEntee said: “Over the past three years, players have undertaken modules both on and off the field to assist them in their quest to become a professional rugby player.
“The quality of the course is reflected through our eight graduates both on the field and how they manage themselves off it.”
The players who graduated were Fionn Carr, Matthew D’Arcy, Ross McCarron, Kevin McLaughlin, Sean O’Brien, Jonathan Sexton, Devin Toner and Cillian Willis.
Sexton was unavailable due to commitments with the Ireland squad and his diploma was accepted on his behalf by Colin McEntee.
For photos from the HETAC graduation ceremony in the RDS, please click here.