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Rookie Camp Provides Advice To Aspiring Young Players

Under-20 Six Nations Championship Round 5, Colwyn Bay, Wales 15/3/2019 Wales U20's vs Ireland U20's Ireland's Charlie Ryan celebrates with the trophy after the game Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Ryan Byrne

Last week, the second Rugby Players Ireland/IRFU Rookie Camp took place at The Heritage Hotel in Killenard Co. Laois. Over the course of  two days, new Academy players from each of the four provinces were invited to participate in an induction programme hosted by the representative body for professional players in the country.

Led by Marcus Horan, Rugby Players Ireland Player Development Manager for Munster, the induction programme introduced players to various aspects of a career in the professional game. Interactive modules on wellbeing, communication, mental health and self-management featured. The session also provided players with an opportunity to hear what it takes to be a professional rugby player in Ireland with Jerry Flannery and Gordon D’Arcy in attendance to share their own respective experiences of the game.

Horan explained the purpose of the camp:

“In my own experience, I have learned that the education of players is crucial if they are to survive in what is a unique professional environment. Through this programme we have been able to highlight some of the issues that they are likely to face in the coming weeks and months. We have also been able to put the first building blocks in place to equip them with the skills required for the future, whether that lies in the sport or not.”

D’Arcy also added,

“The great thing for these guys is that they are benefiting from the mistakes that we made. There’s a tried and tested path now for guys moving through the game. It took me a long time to understand that there’s a lot more to being a professional rugby player than being paid to do a job. It’s about all the decisions you make in a holistic sense.

“There’ll be many obligations and expectations of them in the next few years so it’s essential that they are prepared with the tools to thrive in that environment.”