RUGBY ISC targets €3.5million investment in IRFU participation initiatives

Irish Sports Council and IRFU target €3.5 million investment at Sports Participation

IRFU unveil new Long Term Player Development Model “6 to 6 Nations”

At Lansdowne Road the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism, John O’Donoghue T.D. announced details of the investment of €3.5 million by the Irish Sports Council in the Irish Rugby Football Union for 2006. The investment is in programmes aimed at increasing participation in rugby throughout Ireland at all levels and for all sectors of society. 

One of the programmes that the will be benefiting from this investment will be the IRFU Long Term Player Development Model (LTPD) which, for the first time, will provide an integrated framework to facilitate the development of rugby players at all levels of participation and experience.

The LTPD framework outlines six stages of development, namely; the FUNdamental stage, the Learn to Play & Practice stage, the Train to Train stage, the Train to Compete stage, the Train to Win stage and the final Retirement/Retention stage. 

The LTPD model is designed to ensure that the experience of training and playing the game is appropriate for the development stage of the player involved. It is Player-Centred, in that the specific characteristics at each stage are based on the particular capacities of players at each stage of development.
The player capacities are characterised across five areas that include Technical, Tactical, Physical, Mental and Lifestyle, and provide the compass by which the I.R.F.U’s Coach Development Department designs and promotes rugby coaching courses, emphasizing that all coaches should be appropriately trained and qualified to work with players at each level.

The LTPD model is not intended to be a production line of world-class players but rather an integrated series of stages to maximise the potential of all players according to their own ability and ambition. Ultimately the successful establishment and maintenance of a long term programme of development will be essential to that small number of players with the talent and aspiration to become elite performers.

This investment announced today brings €18.5 million as the total allocated to the IRFU by the Irish Sports Council since 2001. The funding arises from the Special Budget Measure for the encouragement of greater underage participation in the three major field sports. The entire IRFU programme, as with the G.A.A. and the F.A.I., is in line with the Irish Sports Council’s strategic objectives of increasing sporting opportunities for all and particularly for school aged children and disadvantaged groups. The Irish Sports Council and the IRFU agreed a detailed schedule of specific programmes for 2006, with some highlights of the 2005 programme set out below.

Minister O’Donoghue: “This investment by the Government enables the IRFU to develop a series of innovative programmes to increase participation in rugby throughout Ireland, such as the excellent Long Term Player Development plan introduced today. These programmes, along with significant capital investments, are bringing success at every level and securing rugby’s long term future in Ireland ."

Mr. Peter Boyle President of the IRFU said: “This investment by the Irish Sports Council is an integral part of our ongoing plans for increasing both participation numbers and the quality experience of rugby for all participants as set out in the IRFU’s Strategic Plan. The Long Term Player Development model is an important component in our strategy to improve the quality of players and coaches in Ireland at all levels, as an integral part of increasing participation numbers. We are confident that Irish rugby will continue to help the Irish Sports Council to meet its increased participation targets.”

Mr. Ossie Kilkenny, Irish Sports Council Chairman said; “The Council has set high targets for increasing sports participation in Ireland. We rely on organisations such as the IRFU to help meet those targets. Their participation programmes are reaping rewards as they provide excellent opportunities for boys and girls throughout the country. We also recognise that these programmes must be underpinned by a well organised and professional organisation, which the IRFU most certainly is.”

Mr. John Treacy, Chief Executive of the Irish Sports Council, said, “The Irish Sports Council enjoys an excellent working relationship with the IRFU.  As well as providing significant investment for the Union, the Council is supportive of critical programmes such as the Long Term Player Development Model. We acknowledge the great work of the Union in developing the game of rugby in Ireland in recent years and are delighted that advances in the administration of the game have been mirrored with great success on the pitch at every level of the sport”.
For Further Information:
Karl Richardson, IRFU   Tel: +353 (0) 866477874   
Paul McDermott, Irish Sports Council Tel: +353 (0) 01 8608802

Note to Editors:

Highlights of the IRFU Participation Programmes 

• The largest single element of the Council funding is the employment of development staff in each of the four Provinces including 4 Provincial Development Managers, 13 Regional Development Officers and 87 Youth Development Officers.

• The Tallaght Project, which has seen over 3,000 children exposed to the game of rugby, continues to grow and develop the point that it has now expanded into Swords in North County Dublin. In addition to this, initial preparatory work is being done in Ballymun, which has been selected as the third site for the project .

• The Clubs of Ireland Scheme is an achievement based reward mechanism, which funds clubs for performance in the playing area of the game.  The scheme encompasses mini-rugby, tag rugby, women’s rugby and referee & coach development.  Over 1,200 schools participated in the scheme.

• 500 schools and 50,000 children took part in Coco-Cola Tag Rugby, a non contact version of rugby, which included provincial and regional Inter-School blitzes and extravaganzas.  150 new schools received “tag packs” and teachers received referee coaching.  110 areas in Community Games are now playing tag rugby.  The Buntús tag programme expanded from Limerick City into Donegal and will start shortly in Sligo and County Cork.  

• The IRFU continues to cover the full cost of School/Youth/U20/Womens Team insurances and subsidises the cost of Adult team insurance. In addition to this, the representative teams of Youths, Schools, U19, U21 and Women were supported in 2005.

• 87 schools received payments under the Schools of Ireland Programme in recognition of their work to develop rugby in view of the rising costs of team sports at school level.  Over €70,000 of worth of playing gear and equipment was supplied to clubs and schools. €90,000 was paid to schools & clubs in respect of the Reward for Development programme for the introduction of the players into the professional game for the season 2004-2005.

• Other highlights included the provision of a wide range of coach education courses and referee training courses. Three university development officers are currently employed to assist running colleges rugby nationwide and four regional Fitness Advisers are employed to assist clubs, schools and the Elite Player Development process in the introduction of core strength and development programmes.