Friday 30 September 2016

Academy route must be mined fully

David Wallace

Published 02/09/2016 | 02:30

Sam Arnold recently moved to Munster Photo: Steve Pope / SPORTSFILE
Sam Arnold recently moved to Munster Photo: Steve Pope / SPORTSFILE

Munster have not competed massively in the market, but they have made a few key signings with John Andress, Sam Arnold and Darren O'Shea coming in, while Jean Kleyn looks set to be a major acquisition.

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But crucially Munster are going back to basics and beginning to bring through a number of the academy players, which could be the difference.

Guys are being given their chance, with Conor Oliver and Dan Goggin both involved. Darren Sweetnam shone in pre-season.

Alex Wootton, Cian Bohane and Stephen Fitzgerald may be on the verge of big years.

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Everybody saw what Connacht did with their academy in recent years.

It's clearly the way forward and Munster have struggled in that sense since they won their two Heineken Cups.

Players have not come through at the same rate, and if they hope to return to prominence in Europe, they need to be able to compete with the richer clubs.

Financially that isn't viable anymore, but if Munster can begin to bring players through and give them their chance to express themselves on the big stage, it's only a matter of time before new stars are born.

Irish Independent

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