The Halloween midterm saw the first of the Regional Development Squad games with North-East hosting North-West in Ballina RFC and later in the day South-East travelled to Creggs RFC to take on South-West.
Over the course of the season the plan is to host 5 Inter-Regional game blocks involving the newly formed Under15/16 Regional Squad Grouping. The selected players will represent their respective regions, placing them in a position to be selected into the Connacht Age Grade programme into the future.
This new regional programme is being run by Connacht Rugby Club and Community and is split into four teams representing four Regions: North-East; North-West; South-East; South-West. The regional development Squads are a combination of the best of U15 and U16 players from clubs all over the province.
Players have been busy this season with club and school rugby in full flow. The Inter Regional games will take place in Mid-Term Blocks. Wednesday saw the first chance for players to play for their regions with 18 clubs represented across the two games. Selected players have been preparing in their regional hubs with athletic development sessions in the gym, and skill development and game awareness on the pitch with player numbers expected to grow over the coming weeks arising from a Player ID programme focused specifically on upcoming club Under 15 and Under 16 games.
The games lived up to all the coaches’ expectations with some brilliant, fast-paced rugby on show with some strong defence on the other side of the ball. The newly formed Regional Development programme is aiming to bridge the gap from club rugby to the Connacht Age Grade Squads and to give more players a chance to develop and grow individually and as a group. The programme itself is centred solely on Player Development with the hope that players will move onto greater things within the Connacht Rugby player pathway, however, also to improve and develop the player who will hopefully be the cornerstone of their respective club into the future.
Players will be eagerly looking forward to the next set of fixtures. The next games are currently set for January 3rd during the next school break.
The Heads of each of the 4 Regions are:
North-West Tigers (managed by JP Walsh)
South-West Sharks (managed by Diarmuid Codyre)
North-East Eagles (managed by Gavin Foley)
South-East Dragons (managed by Conor Galvin)