The Marriott Johnstown House Hotel in Enfield, County Meath, was the venue for the IRFU’s first ever National Coaching Conference last Saturday (July 25). Some world-renowned coaches were in attendance to give presentations on different aspects of the game.
The conference was part of Continuing Professional Development initiatives for coaches who are participating in the IRFU National Coaching Programme at Stage 4 and Stage 5.
Invitations were also made to full-time IRFU development staff, coaching staff from the four provincial senior squads and Elite Player programmes.
After the official opening of the conference by IRFU President John Callaghan, coaches attended key-note presentations and smaller group presentations based on their personal preference of topic.
Over 170 coaches from all areas of the country representing the best age grade and senior domestic rugby sides, as well as Irish representative teams at all levels, paid rapt attention to some world-class presenters, including Ireland’s Grand Slam-winning coach Declan Kidney.
A combination of national and international coaches and ex-players, the presenters at the conference ensured a wealth of experience and applied knowledge and each is internationally recognised and respected for their expertise:
John Muggleton (Scarlets defence coach) presented a module on Team Defence, while former Ireland and England head coach Brian Ashton covered aspects of Back Play.
Franco Ascione (F.I.R. Technical Director) covered the areas of Team Attack and General Movement, while current French forwards coach Didier Retiére looked at Forward Play covering a variety of aspects including Lineouts, Le Maul and Scrum Play.
Former Leinster, Ireland and Lions winger Denis Hickie gave a key-note speech on coaching in the modern game from the player perspective that was well received by the audience.
The aim of the conference was to provide expert information, to stimulate high-level discussion and thinking through a variety of cross-cultural practices and experiences.
And many old friendships were renewed during the informal interactions between the attendees during coffee breaks and lunch.
Both the venue and the event proved to be a huge success.
Praising the event, IRFU Director of Rugby Eddie Wigglesworth said: “The feedback has been terrific and the attendance level, not to mention the quality of the attendees, was a great reflection on the work of the Coach (Development) Department.”
The IRFU Coach Development department would like to thank all the coaches and presenters who made this first National Coaching Conference such a success.
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