A crowd of over 2,000 supporters welcomed the Leinster squad to Wexford Wanderers RFC on Thursday afternoon at the second area visit by Joe Schmidt’s men ahead of the start of the new season.
Fresh from completing a hard week’s work in the nearby Whites Hotel, the Leinster squad trained at the local club grounds in front of a flurry of keen blue-clad fans.
Notably, local favourites Gordon D’Arcy and Eoin Sheriff were on hand, following in the footsteps of the likes of former Leinster greats Seamus Kelly, the first Wexford man to be capped by Ireland, Johnny ‘Spud’ Murphy, Declan O’Brien and Nick Popplewell who were all in attendance.
After the training session, there was a special presentation made to Leo Cullen and Gordon by the Mayor of Wexford, Joe Ryan.
D’Arcy feels that competition for places, ahead of the start of Leinster’s new campaign, is quite literally ‘bubbling over.’
“It’s going to be a good, long hard season in the Magners League and the Heineken Cup, but watching the way we’ve been training here this week, it’s going to make for a very interesting season. The competition is bubbling over,” said the experienced centre.
D’Arcy said he was making what he called a proud return to his roots. He has very fond memories of the ground where he first picked up a ball, and was also full of praise for the facilities provided by Whites Hotel during their visit.
He said the hotel’s high performance gym and cryotherapy sessions made a big difference.
“Probably the biggest complement we could pay them is that we didn’t have to bring much of our own equipment with us.
“The cryotherapy makes a big difference. We were able to do that little bit extra, work that bit harder and get the extra couple of sessions in that we maybe would not have had if we were elsewhere.”
The Leinster squad and management are gearing up for their first pre-season friendly against London Wasps which kicks off at Donnybrook on Friday, August 20 (kick-off 7pm).
Their final pre-season area visit to Clondalkin RFC on Monday, August 16 from 12 (noon) is free to enter and open for all.