This week over 75 IRFU technical staff – including development staff, Academy managers and elite player development staff – from the four provinces and Irish Exiles assembled for their two-day annual conference in the Castleknock Hotel. The keynote speech was given by Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt.
The aims of the conference, which was driven by Steve Aboud, the IRFU’s head of technical direction, and high performance manager Colin McEntee, were to reinforce staff technical knowledge, share experiences and technical initiatives and provide an opportunity for staff to socialise and build new relationships.
The Conference was opened by IRFU President Pat Fitzgerald who acknowledged the excellent work being undertaken in the delivery of IRFU technical programmes throughout the country.
Eddie Wigglesworth, the Union’s director of rugby, also welcomed the staff, highlighting the importance of delivering quality programmes in order to produce and retain excellent players and coaches.
Throughout the two days staff participated and delivered presentations, workshops and practical sessions on topics such as the Technical Model, IRFU Rugby Faculty, Age Grade Representative Competition analysis, General Movement as well as specific workshops on Coach Development, High Performance and Women’s rugby.
The highlight of the conference was a presentation by Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt, who spoke about the autumn preparation and GUINNESS Series macthes, the RBS 6 Nations performances and the principles which underline his rugby philosophy and approach.
Joe’s passion, attention to detail and constant drive to improve were obvious throughout his relaxed and humorous delivery.
Steve Aboud commented : “Irish rugby is fortunate to have quality people throughout, both volunteers and professionals.
“Our technical staff are no exception. They constantly strive to challenge and improve themselves in order to deliver excellent programmes across elite player and coach development. The annual conference is one of the most challenging but enjoyable events in our calendar.”
The two-day conference included practical pitch sessions where staff could share information and knowledge