Wednesday 18 October 2017

Tucker delight as U-17s pass South African test

The Under-17 provincial side in action against Blue Crane
The Under-17 provincial side in action against Blue Crane

Connacht Rugby's U-17 squad took on some of the best rugby players from the South African schools system when they played against the Blue Crane team in Athlone last Saturday.

The South African touring side drew its players from Paarl Gim, Grey College, Paul Roos Gym, Stellenberg, Oakdale, Menlo Park and Paarl Boys High. Connacht put in a well-rounded performance and their stoic defence held the visitors scoreless whilst their clinical attack resulted in five tries.

Speaking about the match, Head Coach and Elite Player Development Officer, Colm Tucker, said: "Blue Crane provided a very worthwhile and excellent test for the squad.

"The squad are continuing to show huge growth and development since the summer - their attitude and application has been excellent. We will continue to test them under pressure and push them out their comfort zone as much as we can.

"So far they have taken on every challenge in the right manner and Saturday again they showed good cohesiveness, skill level and work rate. Exposure is the key for the players at this age, with the result being largely immaterial, it was good to see them express themselves by playing positive rugby."

Impressive girls fall short in Leinster tie

The Connacht U-18 Girls fell to a 38-22 defeat to Leinster in their final interpro of the campaign last weekend despite an excellent performance at MU Barnhall.

Connacht started well and led 10-0 after 25 minutes. Having dominated early possession, Béibhinn Parsons scored two tries, in the sixth and 25th minutes, to give the visitors a perfect start.

Leinster gained the upper hand late in the opening half and Connacht conceded two tries through Tess Meade and Orla Molloy with Natasja Behan landing both conversions to give Leinster a 14-10 half-time lead.

Connacht started the second half on the front foot with some excellent tackles and their offloading game working well.

Full-back Aine Galvin scored an outstanding try when she chipped the ball over the Leinster defensive line, showed speed and pounced to score.

Connacht now led 15-14 but Leinster fought back again and tries from Bethany Sharpe, Molly Fitzgerald and Megan Burns moved the hosts 33-15 in front.

Galvin scored Connacht's fourth try after picking the ball from the back of the ruck. Meabh Deely converted but Leinster ran out 38-22 winners.

Connacht - Aine Galvin (Ballinasloe); Aoibheann Reilly (Ballinasloe), Beibhinn Parsons (Ballinasloe), Shona Kennedy (Westport), Niamh Kenny (Ballinasloe); Meabh Deely (Ballinasloe), Muireann Cawley (Westport); Claire Coghlan (Westport), Mia Fahy (Galwegians), Kayley Mannion (Galwegians); Vanessa Finnan (Buccaneers), Jordan Hopkins (Galwegians); Lily Brady (Westport), Sarah Dent (Ballinasloe, Capt), Sarah Walsh (Westport).Reps: Claudia McNicholas (Galwegians), Mary McLoughlin (Westport), Sarah O'Rourke (Buccaneers RFC), Rachel Cox (Westport RFC), Rian Callaghan (Buccaneers), Chloe Staunton (Westport), Eleanor McMahon (Ballinasloe), Aisling Murphy (Ballinasloe).

Coaching workshops

The Connacht Rugby coach development department recently held workshops in Portumna, Monivea and Loughrea.

More than 40 coaches from the three areas were up-skilled on various facets of the game.

The workshop in Portumna was for coaches of mini and girls rugby with a focus on various training drills.

The event in Monivea was for mini and youths rugby coaches.

Former Buccaneers stalwart Kolo Kiripati provided a workshop on the breakdown at Loughrea. Kolo worked with youth players on the skills of carrying into contact, ball presentation, and effective rucking techniques.

For more information on the workshops, please email info@connachtrugby.ie

Irish Independent

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