Academy can deliver, says coach Mick O’Driscoll

Munster A coach Mick O’Driscoll insists that there is huge potential in the province’s academy system.

Academy can deliver, says coach Mick O’Driscoll

As the soul searching continues after the embarrassing European exit to Saracens on Saturday, O’Driscoll stressed that a new generation of stars can step up to senior ranks — but only if given time.

And like senior coach Anthony Foley, O’Driscoll emphasised that money is not at the root of Munster’s current woes.

“There is money there, it’s about spending it wisely and making sure what we bring in will improve Munster,” he replied when questioned on the need to sign big nameplayers.

“There’s no point in us bringing in a player for crazy money if it’s not going to improve Munster. That’s why the academy is so important. If we’re struggling in a certain position and need to sign a player, that’s fine.

“But what we have to do in the academy is to make sure there’s a regular flow of players coming through as there has been in the past. We need a couple of players now. Unfortunately, a couple of them aren’t ready now.

“That’s where the gap is. It’s not due to the academy not working. It’s a process that takes time.”

He also referenced Munster’s massive injury list this season. “Who was to know we’d have two international hookers and two international props injured at the same time? Our academy can’t produce an international hooker or international prop today.

“What it has to do is to produce players for next year, the year after. The academy needs to know where we need players. We are working on it with Peter Malone and his academy group. It’s about getting us to a stage that when we do have 10, 15, players injured that we can cater for it but we are struggling for enough of the quality right now that we need.”

O’Driscoll’s side are away to Doncaster Knights in a British and Irish Cup quarter-final tomorrow.

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