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Kidney Outlines Aims Of Belfast Camp

Kidney Outlines Aims Of Belfast Camp

Just five weeks after that memorable Churchill Cup final victory, Ireland coach Declan Kidney has gathered a 36-man panel together for a short training camp in Belfast, in advance of the new season.

The assembled squad is a combination of the successful summer tour and Ireland ‘A’ sides, in addition to a number of experienced internationals like Jerry Flannery, Andrew Trimble and Paddy Wallace who are coming back from injuries.

Outlining his aims for the three-day get-together, head coach Declan Kidney said: “It’s really a continuation of what we were doing (earlier in the summer in Canada and the USA).

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“May and June were hugely informative in terms of the summer tour and the Churchill Cup, for us coaches to be working with players.

“It’s on the back of how they went about their business there, combined then with bringing some guys back into it, like Paddy Wallace and Shane Horgan who didn’t do either tour for different reasons.

“It’s about combining that bit of experience with those guys who went well earlier in the summer. Their results speak for themselves.

“It’s just a case of continuing to build a panel or squad, which is what we said we wanted to do last year.”

Kidney and his management team have arranged for two more training camps in August and September, when Ireland’s 2009 Lions tourists will come back on board.

But the Corkman insisted that everybody will be looked at and given a chance to impress as the GUINNESS Series internationals come into view.

“Obviously, the Lions fellas aren’t included in this one. They’ll be looking for selection for the next mini-camp come August.

“We’ll have to stick to the same numbers, 30 or 35 players. So when the Lions come in, some of these lads might not get an opportunity.

“So this is their opportunity to put their hand up and say, ‘May, June went well, I’m still going well here and don’t forget me if I don’t make the cut for the next camp.’

“And we certainly won’t because I can’t speak highly enough about them, they went about their business very well.”

Kidney said ‘pretty much everybody’ trained indoors this morning at the splendid facilities at the University of Ulster, Jordanstown, reporting a relatively clean bill of health considering the rigours of pre-season training.

“It’s important (in this camp) that we keep the pre-season routine of the players going,” he added.

“Most of them will be doing some skills in their provinces, so we’ve kept that going. Obviously we have the angle we need for our team.

“But we’re also keeping the strength and conditioning programme up and running fully, so it’s a combination. That’s what we’ll be doing during the course of these few days.”

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