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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.