In unmistakable Day-Glo yellow, the men of Munster were put through their paces by coach Tony McGahan and his management team at a special pre-season training session at Waterford’s Regional Sports Centre on Friday last.
The ‘outreach’ training series has taken the squad around the province, giving the opportunity to fans from less traditional rugby strongholds a chance to see their heroes being put through their paces.
Despite the absence of injured captain Paul O’Connell, along with the Irish players who featured in the summer tour down under, there were still big names aplenty on show in Kilbarry.
Alan Quinlan, Denis Leamy, Lifemi Mafi, Keith Earls, Denis Fogarty, Doug Howlett and new signing Sam Tuitupou (with one leg in a protective black cast) were among a relaxed group who signed jerseys and posed for photos.
Before a large attendance of onlookers, they also managed to get some training in as part of their preparations for the new Magners League and Heineken Cup campaigns.
At the centre of them all stood coach Tony McGahan, who told The Munster Express about the benefits of training outside the squad’s traditional Limerick and Cork bases.
“It’s been a great part of our programme; we did it a little bit with the ‘A’ team over the last two years and it went really well so this felt like a natural progression,” he began.
“From a training perspective, to bring it out here has been fantastic. It’s been well received by all the supporters and certainly well received by the players and gets them in touch with supporters here in Waterford.
“We’ve got a lot of people who travel a long way to watch our games in Limerick and Cork so to get back out and let the fans see the players in a different environment, to see them close up is wonderful for all involved.”
The demands of the professional game have made rugby a near year-round affair nowadays, but for club coaches, the gap between campaigns is that little more pronounced.
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