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IRFU Exiles – A Passion For Irish Rugby

IRFU Exiles – A Passion For Irish Rugby

The jersey and the logo is quartered with the four Irish provincial colours. The players are drawn from all over Britain and they all share one passion – Irish rugby.

The roll of honour includes names like Simon Geoghegan, Simon Easterby and Jim Staples – players who have represented Ireland with pride and passion through the years.

More recently still, Mike McCarthy has been earning plaudits for his appearances in green while Declan Fitzpatrick has also earned a place in the Ireland squad.

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At provincial level Kieran Marmion has been playing extremely well for Connacht, while Conor Joyce of Solihull is making a name at Ulster.

The Ireland Under-18 Clubs side and the Ireland Under-20s have seen a big increase in recent seasons in the number of players coming through the system too.

Joyce lined out for the Under-20s against France last Friday with George McGuigan (Newcastle Falcons) and Ryan Furniss (Worcester Warriors) also in the ranks.

The victorious Ireland Women’s team who have just been crowned RBS 6 Nations champions include the likes of Sophie Spence (Mowden Park Sharks) and Leigh Dargan (Saracens) in their ranks.

The common thread running through all of these is the IRFU Exiles.

IRFU Exiles Development Officer Mark Blair and a team of volunteers travel the length and breadth of Britain as they look for talented players who could represent Ireland and bring them together in four regional teams at Under-16, Under-17 and Under-18 levels.

Irish Rugby TV travelled to London recently for the annual IRFU Exiles Inter-Regional finals. There were 270 young players and hundreds more parents at the event and all with one shared passion – Irish rugby.

On the day we met players, parents, volunteers and representatives from the four provincial Academies who were there to see the next generation of the Irish diaspora in action.

Included in that number was Ulster’s Kieran Campbell, who came through the Exiles pathway to represent Ireland at age-grade, Sevens and senior levels. The former scrum half has come full circle now as he looks to recruit young players into the professional ranks.

Only some of these talented young players will make a career in rugby, but the passion to do so in Irish colours burns brightly.

IRFU Exiles on Irish Rugby TV – watch online now.