This year’s technical Staff conference was opened by IRFU president Martin O’Sullivan, whose message underlined the importance of alignment between Domestic Rugby quality development and effective performance at elite levels. Martin acknowledged and thanked the staff for their efforts and ongoing passion to developing the future of Irish Rugby.
Over 80 development staff from the 4 Provinces & Exiles, across Domestic Rugby and Elite Player Development were in attendance at the Castleknock Hotel over the two days.
The aim of the conference, driven by Head of Technical Direction, Stephen Aboud is threefold:
- To provide IRFU technical staff with the opportunity to improve their understanding of selected topics relating to the Technical Model, in order to deliver more effective Coach & Elite Player programmes.
- Foster better working relationships between & within Provinces through sharing
- Reinforce IRFU Programmes &Technical Direction
Key note presentations delivered in the morning session were:
Colin McEntee (HP Manager) – High Performance pathway, vision and progress
Anthony Eddy (Director of 7s & Women’s Rugby) – 7s pathway and progress to Rio & World series
Stephen Aboud – Personality profiling workshop
In the afternoon a practical workshop covering three topics was held:
Continuity in contact – Colin McEntee and Willie Anderson (EPDO Ulster Branch)
Kicking skills – Richie Murphy – National Kicking & Skill Coach
Front row skills – John Fogarty (Leinster assistant coach) and Ambrose Conboy (EPDO Conacht Branch)
Three ex-development officers who are now assistant coaches with the senior Province – Ian Costello, Munster, John Fogarty, Leinster and Jimmy Duffy – Connacht – presented their experiences and lessons learned with a Q & A session.
The first day concluded with a presentation on the new IRFU Technical Model for Kicking skills from Richie Murphy where he introduced the Kicking Model and outlined the implementation strategy.
The second day started with a feedback workshop, where all the staff provided feedback on critical elements which they felt would improve their effectiveness and enjoyment.
The last session was a split-workshop where specific issues for Domestic Rugby and Elite Player Development staff were workshopped and discussed in two separate groups.
International referee John Lacey presented on Laws and Regulations to the domestic group while Colin McEntee & HP Analysts Vinny Hammond and Jim Herring facilitated a session on individual skills effectiveness analysis.