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Bective lock Oisín off on a NZ adventure

This week, Bective U21 lock Oisín Lennon will embark on a remarkable tour of high-class rugby in the southern hemisphere -- to the envy of the team-mates he leaves behind.

"We all wish him the best of luck. He is a top man and we know he will excel there and come back the better for it" said U21 head coach Jim Oliver.

Oisín has been accepted into the International Rugby Academy in New Zealand (IRANZ) -- based in the north island town of Palmerston North. The first day of "term" was on 28th January when he started on the High Performance Course in the Academy.

The course takes in 30 players in total -- with two players per position -- and involves various innovative coaching methods plus the participation of many rugby legends, with Murray Mexted, Jim Telfer and John Eales acting as some of the course tutors, and David Campese, Ian Jones, Todd Blackadder and other ex-international players for position-specific coaching. It will be a gruelling programme starting at 6am every morning and run again between 5pm-8pm in the evening.

On completing the course, the students are farmed out to hand-picked clubs, which are geared to continue the high performance programme. Oisín is heading for Christchurch to join Glenmark Rugby Club. "Glenmark is famous for punching above its weight and has produced over 40 New Zealand internationals, including Dan Carter," Oisín says.

"Once I arrive there, I'll be put straight into pre-season training and then I'll be joining the first team on their tour of Sydney in March (organised by ex-Glenmark player and Australia coach Robbie Deans).

"After that I will have to work hard to keep my place for the season proper and enjoy the whole New Zealand brand of tough rugby -- while working in a polo yard, which will be another fantastic experience. My plan is to return to Bective in time for the 2010/11 season with as much rugby experience as possible and see if I can make the first 15."