Irish Rugby Grassroots Blog Series

A blog series on the Irish schools and local rugby grass root clubs which are nurturing and developing the current provincial academy and senior squad members. The numbers produced were based on current academy and senior squad players who have gone through the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland educational systems. The statistics generated may surprise some. This blog post collates the articles which focused on this topic: 

Ulster Rugby: What Second Level Schools and local grassroots rugby clubs are developing the homegrown talent for the provincial setup?

Strong Ulster Schools and Grassroots Rugby structures

This blog series will look and recognize the secondary schools and local rugby clubs who are to the fore in underage rugby player development. They are at times the forgotten piece of the jigsaw. Without these schools and rugby clubs, there would be no talent pool outlet for the Irish provinces and national team to prosper. 

This article focuses on Ulster Rugby. The statistics are based on the indigenous born players who have come through the Irish or Northern Ireland educational system. The statistics may surprise some but it is an exercise which provides key trends going forward. 

Ulster Rugby Squad: Age profile 

The Irish born player age profile in the current first team squad is around twenty-five years. The current first team squad’s eldest player is Rory Best  (36). The playing squad has a good blend of youth and experience. The emergence of academy talent such as Eric O’Sullivan, Robert Baloucoune and Angus Kernohan this season bodes well for the club long term. 

Schools Demographic:

The school county breakdown for the Ulster Rugby squad is: Antrim (23), Dublin (7), Armagh (1), Down (1), Limerick (1), Cork (1), Tyrone (1), Offaly (1), Donegal (1), Fermanagh (1). 

Schools County Demographic

Schools Representation: 

Schools Breakdown

Schools Observations:

  1. The conveyor belt of talent from the Ballymena Academy is self evident in these numbers; currently provide nine players in the current provincial setup. 
  2. The emergence of talent from Fermanagh, Donegal is good to see as well as the influx of Dublin school based players up to Ulster Rugby in recent years. 

Grass Roots Rugby Club Association: 

The local rugby club scene is well represented in the Ulster Rugby squad ranks with Ballymena, Ballynahinch, Banbridge, Dungannon, Malone, Queen’s University well represented. 

Grass-root club vs. provincial breakdown

Leinster Rugby: What Second Level Schools and local grassroots rugby clubs are developing the homegrown talent for the provincial setup?

Leinster Rugby schools and local club structures incredibly strong

This blog series will look and recognize the secondary schools and local rugby clubs who are to the fore in underage rugby player development. They are at times the forgotten piece of the jigsaw. Without these schools and rugby clubs, there would be no talent pool outlet for the Irish provinces and national team to prosper. 

This article focuses on Leinster Rugby. The statistics are based on the indigenous born players who have come through the Irish or Northern Ireland educational system. The statistics may surprise some but it is an exercise which provides key trends going forward. 

Leinster Rugby Squad: Age profile 

The Irish born player age profile in the current first team squad is around twenty-five years. The current first team squad’s eldest player is Jonathan Sexton (33). The playing squad has a good blend of youth and experience. The emergence of academy talent such as Doris, Keenan, O’Brien, Penny this season bodes well for the club long term. 

Schools Demographic:

The school county breakdown for the Leinster Rugby squad is: Dublin (36), Kildare (10), Westmeath (2), Limerick (1), Offaly (1), Wexford (1), Wicklow (1), Carlow (1), Tipperary (1). The Dublin schools system is a key driver to the success of the Leinster senior and academy squads. 

Schools Representation: 

Schools Breakdown Demographic

Schools Observations:

  1. The conveyor belt of talent from the Dublin schools is self evident in these number but St.Michael’s contribution is duly noted with sixteen current Leinster Rugby squad members coming from the school. 
  2. The emergence of talent from outside Dublin is seen too with Carlow, Offaly, Kildare, Wexford and Westmeath represented. This trend should continue to develop with the province primed for further success on the field. 

Grass Roots Rugby Club Association: 

The local rugby club scene is well represented in the Leinster Rugby squad ranks with Dublin rugby club associated with a good portion of the current squad. University College Dublin and their ability to nurture academy players to senior provincial ranks a key example.  It has being a gateway for players to get the required club rugby experience before being called to provincial rank action. 

Grass-root Club / Provincial Squad Breakdown

Munster Rugby: What Second Level Schools and local grassroots rugby clubs are developing the homegrown talent for the provincial setup?

Munster Rugby homegrown provincial  talent is strong

This blog series will look and recognize the secondary schools and local rugby clubs who are to the fore in underage rugby player development. They are at times the forgotten piece of the jigsaw. Without these schools and rugby clubs, there would be no talent pool outlet for the Irish provinces and national team to prosper. 

This article focuses on Munster Rugby. The statistics are based on the indigenous born players who have come through the Irish or Northern Ireland educational system. The statistics may surprise some but it is an exercise which provides key trends going forward. 

Munster Rugby Squad: Age profile 

The Irish born player age profile in the squad is around twenty-six years. The current first team squad’s eldest player is Duncan Williams (32). The playing squad has a good blend of youth and experience. The emergence of academy talent such as Bill Johnston, Gavin Coombes this season bodes well for the club long term. 

Schools Demographic:

The school county breakdown for the Munster Rugby squad is: Cork (22), Limerick (11), Tipperary (7), Dublin (6), Waterford (2), Kerry (1), Antrim (1) and Kildare (1). 

School County Breakdown

Schools Representation: 

Cork Schools grassroots prominent in the current squad

Schools Observations:

  1. The conveyor belt of talent from the Cork  school system is self evident in this squad makeup: PBC (9), CBC (7) are well represented along with several other Cork county schools. 
  2. Rockwell College continue to produce high quality talent. They currently provide four Munster Rugby squad players at present including JJ Hanrahan. 

Grass Roots Rugby Club Association: 

The local rugby club scene is well represented in the Munster Rugby squad ranks with the Cork and Limerick rugby club juggernauts all well represented.  

Grassroots Club Demographic