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Ireland Under-20s Leave A Legacy In Nagoya

Ireland Under-20s Leave A Legacy In Nagoya

The Ireland Under-20 players and members of the management team took time out of their preparations for their IRB Junior World Championship match against New Zealand on Tuesday to participate in the IRB legacy programme at the TOYOTA Rugby training facilities on Saturday.

Click here for photos from the Ireland Under-20s’ opening match of the 2009 Junior World Championship against Argentina and of their coaching session with local kids in Nagoya.

Click here for a match report on the Ireland v Argentina game.

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Legacy programmes, such as this, are an integral part of all IRB age grade tournaments, with the host Unions required to provide opportunities for all participating teams to engage with the local community.

The Ireland Under-20s were able to coach children from different rugby clubs and give advice to coaches from the rugby community in Nagoya, Japan.

On the morning after Allen Clarke’s side defeated Argentina 16-9 in their opening Pool A match, the training was a fantastic experience for everyone involved, with parents watching on as their children were taught by the Irish rugby stars of the future.

Ballynahinch and Ulster hooker David McGregor was one of the Irish players most enthusiastically involved in the activities and this was because he is involved in doing similar things at home.

“Back home in Ireland I have done some coaching programmes. So when I finish playing, be it in a year or 20 years, I hope to be a coach,” he said.

“It’s nice to be able to come into a different country and see a different culture and coach different kids.”

At the end of the session, the Irish players and management staff awarded prizes to the children who had improved the most or shown a special talent.

The huge smiles on the faces of all the winners brought more sunshine and brightness to an already beautiful day in Nagoya.

Overcoming the cultural and language differences, the children were taught not only rugby skills but more importantly the values of friendship and camaraderie that are part of rugby’s tradition.

Ireland Under-20 team manager Phil Orr said: “The legacy is to pass on the enjoyment of rugby to children and explain to them – as the Japanese say here – that full-time is no side, so once the game is over everybody gets together and enjoys themselves.

“That is the essence and the important part of rugby – that nobody holds a grudge.

“In Ireland, on a normal Sunday morning at many rugby sessions we will have well over 200 or 300 children playing mini rugby and all sort of games.

“The most important thing today is that the children enjoyed it, and when we knew we were coming here we had to make sure that they did.”