Monday 20 February 2017

Smith lifted by schools competition

Declan Rooney

Published 12/02/2016 | 00:00

Munster Rugby president Bertie Smith says he is thrilled to see the schools' game developing year on year (Stock picture)
Munster Rugby president Bertie Smith says he is thrilled to see the schools' game developing year on year (Stock picture)

Munster Rugby president Bertie Smith says he is thrilled to see the schools' game developing year on year.

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Smith, a former international referee, played with Bandon, Cork Con and Munster during the 1970s before injury ended his playing career.

As the Senior Cup competition reaches the semi-final stage where Cork sides Christian Brothers and Presentation Brothers meet, and Limerick's Crescent College face Castletroy College, Smith says everyone involved in the game in the province is buoyed by the passionate play and support the schools cup competitions generate.

"With the schools cups, each game that takes place now is not a match anymore, it is an event," said Smith.

"We have to deal with lots and lots of people coming to the matches. Last year the Junior Cup final here in Thomond Park, Crescent from across the town brought thirteen 50-seater coaches here. And then Christians from Cork brought eleven 50-seater coaches.

"Munster Rugby see the club competition and schools competition as very, very important in the development process of the young players."

The all-Cork senior semi-final takes place at Irish Independent Park on Wednesday, February 24, while the all-Limerick affair takes place the following day at Thomond Park.

"There is fabulous interest, and the interest is there because the quality of the player that is there is good. The players are playing quality rugby, they are well coached, and they are stars of the future," Smith said.

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