Wednesday 17 January 2018

Welfare of the players is key to success

Eoin McKeon shows his disappointment after the defeat against Glasgow
Eoin McKeon shows his disappointment after the defeat against Glasgow

Johnny O'Connor

The player welfare programme works. It has been around since my playing days and has paid huge dividends for Irish rugby.

Ireland have won three Six Nations championships and five Heineken Cups; two for Munster and three for Leinster in the last decade so the stats are there for everyone to see.

The current system means that Ireland's Test players can only play a limited number of games in the Pro12 regular season.

I have sympathy for the provincial coaches because rugby's a results business and they want their best players out on the pitch. But it's strong squads that win tournaments and it's how you manage that squad that will keep you winning leagues and Champions Cups.

Thinking of my time playing in England, you were demanded to be back straight after international matches.

Although we were well looked after by Wasps, we didn't get time off and it certainly makes a difference.

In Connacht, we used to get those breaks after camps as well or after playing, it's just better for health of the player and in the longer it's better for the provinces as well.

Irish Independent

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