'Schools starting to churn out talent'
Published 04/09/2015 | 02:30
Munster head of strength and conditioning for age-grade players, Feargal O'Callaghan, says the schools system is in the position to provide some major talent to the senior ranks for years to come.
O'Callaghan took over his role two and a half years ago, when he felt players were ill-equipped as they joined the academy.
However, he believes much has changed in two years and now with the likes of Bill Johnston, who came from Rockwell College, starring for the seniors the production line holds more promise.
"Programmes in the schools are much better. Schools are employing strength and conditioners more frequently and through a greater range of the age," he said.
"The players are coming into us much, much better prepared and we can see it now with the likes of Bill Johnston, Calvin Nash and these guys."
Age-grade rugby is a vital stage of a player's development where they harness their basic skills in the game and begin to grow.
However, O'Callaghan says it's more important that a player is healthy and able to move around the pitch first.
"There are huge benefits, there is the health and wellness benefits. When we are dealing with the age-grade they are nearly more important than the rugby benefits," he said.
"Movement is our first priority, nowadays we are dealing with a situation where kids are less active.
"They spend a lot of their days sitting down at school or at home, so our job then is to fill the gap that they are missing from not moving so much."