Wednesday 29 January 2020

Munster to cut several youngsters from Academy to lessen numbers in major restructuring


Thomond Park and (inset) Peter Malone
Thomond Park and (inset) Peter Malone
Peter Malone. Photo: Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile
Cian Tracey

Cian Tracey

Munster are set to cut several young players from their academy structures as the province looks to reconsider its intake policy.

The Irish Independent understands that at least 10 players will depart the club and as it stands, there is no immediate intention to replace every single one. Instead, Munster are planning to lessen the numbers and focus on quality rather than quantity.

The IRFU, in accordance with the provinces, want all academy players to be at an elite level, with the view of one day going on to play for Ireland.

The decision was reached in recent weeks and the players departing are from the academy and sub-academy.

While these things tend to work in cycles, Munster's representation in the Ireland U-20s team in the Six Nations recently was not where they want it to be, with their outstanding No 8 Jack O'Sullivan the only regular starter.

Speaking about the issue earlier this month, Peter Malone, the Reds' Academy manager said:

"While we didn't have massive numbers, a few guys stood up in some key positions. Hopefully those guys will go to the World Cup and maybe one or two more if they perform in the AIL in the next couple of weeks."

Last year, Munster recruited 11 players, which brought their tally to 20. The likes of Jack Power and Conor Fitzgerald were amongst the new faces brought in, and both are believed to be finishing their time with the province.

Fitzgerald, younger brother of Munster senior player Stephen, is a former Ireland U-20 out-half.

He was instrumental in guiding Shannon to the All-Ireland League Division 1B title this season, and is now in line to join Connacht.

The other raft of players who are being let go will also hope to pick up contracts elsewhere, in Ireland and abroad.

Meanwhile, Fergus McFadden (hamstring) has been ruled out of Saturday's game against Connacht as he awaits scan results.

Irish Independent

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