Tue, 27 Oct 2020

Leinster reap rewards of school rugby scouting

17 Sep 2020, 21:42 GMT+10

Ward, who made one memorable appearance for the British and Irish Lions, scoring 18 points against South Africa in 1980, said the youngsters get their chance to be blooded because Leinster provide so many players to the Test set-up.

"I would add (former England coach, now senior coach at Leinster) Stuart Lancaster has been a revelation since he came here," said Ward.

"He is a perfect foil for (head coach) Leo Cullen, who has been amazing since he took over. Lancaster is the piece of the jigsaw that made all the difference.

"What they are doing is utilising the international window whereby they are losing a lot of players to Ireland and giving guys an opportunity on an ongoing basis during the year.

"This is based on how they train, the potential they see, the form in games and looking at certain positions they have to fill."

Ward, the inaugural European player of the year in 1979, said Cullen's side were not alone of the four provinces in using the schools system, Connacht being the exception, just they are more efficient at it.

"Leinster have an advantage in numbers over Munster and Ulster," he said.

"However, added to that, they are better at maximising what they have got over the others and therefore don't need to depend on investing in overseas talent.

"Stuart has been blown away by what he has seen in the schools here and the high level of coaching too.

"Leinster are in a very good place. There is no guarantee that they will win (against Saracens) but they are in a good starting position."

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