Eight coaches nominated by the provincial branches recently completed their attendance at the Stage 5 IRFU Coaches course.
This course is for head coaches working with club and representative teams and included some of the top club coaches in Ireland, as well as two former Ireland internationals.
The coaches were Anthony Foley (Munster), Conor Twomey (UCC), Peter Malone (Bruff), Mike Prendegast (Young Munster), Phil Werahiko (Old Belvedere), John Andrews (Ballymena), Derek Suffern (Ballynahinch) and Justin Fitzpatrick (Dungannon).
Stephen Aboud, IRFU Technical Development manager, said: “This was probably the most ambitious and intense Stage 5 course to date, running over 10 days, with 37 contact periods, utilising 16 presenters and incorporating 35 players for rugby practical demonstrations.”
In conjunction with modules on game-planning, operational management, fitness and rugby specific aspects, there were modules on less common themes such as personality profiling, social power, mental toughness, elite coach characteristics, conflict resolution, media skills, mental skills and rugby, and learning styles.
Aboud further highlighted one of the key characteristics of this programme is the input from international presenters such as Fabrice Brochard (France), Laura Purdy (Canada), Gianluca Guidi (FIR), Kevin Bowring (RFU) and PTP Associates (UK).
Ireland defence coach Les Kiss took some time out between national squad training camps to present a personal perspective of team defence, while the Leinster Under-20 squad participated in the rugby-specific practical modules.
The coaches are now required to pursue the course accreditation over the next two seasons under the supervision and mentoring of Aboud and IRFU Training manager Colin Moran.