The IRFU High Performance Centre this week hosted a two-day testing camp for Women’s National Talent Squad (WNTS) players.
A total of 71 athletes from the six Provincial Women’s Centre of Excellence hubs – Dublin City University and SETU Carlow (Leinster), University of Galway and ATU Sligo (Connacht), University of Limerick (Munster) and Queen’s University (Ulster) – attended the joint performance testing and training days in Dublin.
Over the last 12 months, players in attendance have represented Ireland at U18 and U20 level, as well as coming through the IQ Rugby pathway.
Day one of the camp at the IRFU High Performance Centre was led by Munster’s WNTS Athletic Development Coach Lorna Barry, assisted by Greg Hollins (Leinster), Paul Heasley (Ulster), Ann Caffrey (Connacht) and the IRFU’s Head of Athletic Performance and Science, Nick Winkleman.
Players participated in movement screening, jump profiling and speed and endurance testing in the IRFU High Performance Centre gym and indoor pitch, with the testing designed to provide the WNTS Pathway Staff with a baseline ability for each player to set the foundations for long-term athletic development.
Day two was led by the four WNTS Talent Coaches – Matt Gill (Leinster), Larissa Muldoon (Connacht), Neill Alcorn (Ulster) and Niamh Briggs (Munster) – and supported by external coaches Michelle Claffey, Craig Hanbury, JP Walsh and Emily McKeown.
IRFU WNTS and Talent ID Manager, Katie Fitzhenry, said: “With the establishment of the Provincial WNTS Centre of Excellences in May 2023, a key touch point in the calendar was this camp. This gave us our first opportunity to bring all players and WNTS Pathways Staff to the High Performance Centre for joint performance testing and training days.
“Day one included performance testing and on day two, players were split into U18 and U20 groups for two pitch sessions.”
With the Energia All-Ireland League underway for the 2023/24 season and the conclusion of the PwC Women’s U18 Interprovincial Championship set for February, additional players will be identified and brought in to the squads before final selections are made for the Ireland U18 and U20 panels.
The next WNTS camp will be held in January.