Grassroots to Green Shirts: Connacht launch their strategy

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Grassroots to Green Shirts: Connacht launch their strategy

Post by Pot Hale on Thu 19 May 2016, 3:10 am

As discussed recently in another thread, the three "big" Irish provinces in Leinster, Ulster and Munster have all improved their stadia facilities in the last decade, with Thomond at 25,000, Ravenhill upgraded to 18,000, and Leinster having moved to the RDS now have their upgrade underway this year to put a new stand in place at the RDS Arena to bring their capacity to 25,000 over the next couple of years.

Yesterday, Connacht Rugby, this season's surprise package in the PRO 12, launched their own 5 year strategy 2016-2020 - Grassroots to Green Shirts - with a central part of that to create a minimum 10,000 capacity facility, either at the Sportsground, or in another local venue, with a design capability to add in more seating as required.   Willie Ruane, the Connacht MD, said that a lot of planning had been going on behind the scenes for some time, and they hope to have decided on the site for the revamped stadium by the end of the summer.  Their preference would be to remain at the Sportsground, but their other partner at the leased ground, the Irish Greyhound Board, have a say too.   Either way, Connacht plan to increase and improve.

Ambitious times for Connacht.   They've also set themselves performance targets for being in the Champions Cup over the next 4-5 seasons, and to reach at least one quarter-final in that time.  They also want to have better international player representation where having 5 Connacht players in the Ireland team isn't regarded as something unique but commonplace.

The additional funding from IRFU Central this season will help them to fund further player contracts, and get them started on stadium plans.   Their last four matches have been sell-outs with people left outside the stadium at a maxed 7,800 capacity.  But their average during the season was a more modest 5,000.   There may be an element of 'build it and they will come' to their plans, but the promise of a good day out, modern facilities, and a team with a strong feel good factor may help a lot next season in getting those average numbers up further in the coming seasons.   Local businesses are being encouraged to come on board to support the stadium plan and strategy, and Ruane knows a thing or two about how to tap local industry and loosen some pockets.

The loss of Henshaw, Muldowney, and McGinty for next season will be keenly felt, and Lam and his team will have their work cut out to replicate this season's achievements.   A darker shadow on the horizon may concern Lam's presence itself.  He has two years left on his contract, but with teams like Bath searching around for new coach, the moneymen may come calling sooner to bring him back across the Irish Sea to where he forged a reputation for himself in his playing days.  Ruane seemed confident enough that his man was sticking by him for the moment, saying he was 100% certain Lam would be coaching Connacht next season.   He didn't mention the following one though.  

For now, it's all eyes focussed on this weekend, as Connacht enter the playoffs for the first time, and seek to reach their first final.  Everything else can wait until then.

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Re: Grassroots to Green Shirts: Connacht launch their strategy

Post by Hazel Sapling on Thu 19 May 2016, 9:16 am

Feel sorry for Connacht as they lose some of their top players. Early in the season they were really struggling with attendance and I think just having the option to put up temp stands as need be might be more practical than a permanent 10k until they have had another season or two near the top.

They are for me the 3rd Irish province at the moment after Leinster and Ulster going into next season. Hopefully they can keep attracting the right sort of players to fight for the top spot.

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Re: Grassroots to Green Shirts: Connacht launch their strategy

Post by True Raven on Thu 19 May 2016, 9:29 am

Unfortunately Connacht will never grow whilst the other three provinces continue to use Connacht as their feeder club. Wont be long until Dillane, Bealham etc move to a different province.

Hope the trend stops but with Henshaw moving to Leinster, it's unlikely

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Re: Grassroots to Green Shirts: Connacht launch their strategy

Post by marty2086 on Thu 19 May 2016, 9:57 am

True Raven wrote:Unfortunately Connacht will never grow whilst the other three provinces continue to use Connacht as their feeder club.  Wont be long until Dillane, Bealham etc move to a different province.  

Hope the trend stops but with Henshaw moving to Leinster, it's unlikely

Henshaw moving to Leinster was mooted years ago and was going to happen regardless of what Connacht did.

The problem Connacht have is that some of their young players like Marmion, Bealham and Dillane aren't Connacht born and bred. Marmion is English born and came through the Exiles program, Dillane is French born, grew up in Kerry and started out in Munsters academy and Bealham is an Aussie by birth and was with Ulsters academy before moving to Connacht. Now they may stick around for numerous reasons but the draw of playing for your home province and winning with it isn't a draw they have

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Re: Grassroots to Green Shirts: Connacht launch their strategy

Post by Golden on Thu 19 May 2016, 10:04 am

To be fair you can see in the Connacht squad and in the Irish under 20s that their academy is starting to churn out some decent players.

They seem to have good coaches throughout and arent afraid to bring young players through.

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Re: Grassroots to Green Shirts: Connacht launch their strategy

Post by Pot Hale on Thu 19 May 2016, 11:13 am

Connacht are pursuing a programme of developing their local talent and picking up players at club level and developing them even if they hail from elsewhere.  Being given a second chance can build a different kind of bond in a young player that creates a second home for them and builds fierce loyalty to their adopted province.  I wouldn't underestimate that.  

In addition, Nucifora's programme seems to be slowly taking hold and poaching by the other three may diminish if he has a strong say on who's moving where.

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Re: Grassroots to Green Shirts: Connacht launch their strategy

Post by marty2086 on Thu 19 May 2016, 11:54 am

Pot Hale wrote:In addition, Nucifora's programme seems to be slowly taking hold and poaching by the other three may diminish if he has a strong say on who's moving where.

Im not sure how much credit you can give Nucifora, from everything I've heard he seems to be more a hindrance. Didn't he take a long holiday a few months back while negotiations with players were on going and everything had to go on hold?

He was responsible for making a mess of Marty Moores negotiations

So far zero players have mode between provinces because of him, Ulster were meant to be getting a back row from Leinster and it never happened Rolling Eyes


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Re: Grassroots to Green Shirts: Connacht launch their strategy

Post by Golden on Thu 19 May 2016, 12:14 pm

Thought Ah You to Ulster was down to him? Fairly sure Connacht didnt want to lose him anyway. Im sure he had a hand in Kelleher moving too. He was under contract with Leinster at the time so I'm guessing Nucifora would have had to twist Leinster's arm into allowing the move.

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Re: Grassroots to Green Shirts: Connacht launch their strategy

Post by Pot Hale on Thu 19 May 2016, 12:16 pm

marty2086 wrote:
Pot Hale wrote:In addition, Nucifora's programme seems to be slowly taking hold and poaching by the other three may diminish if he has a strong say on who's moving where.

Im not sure how much credit you can give Nucifora, from everything I've heard he seems to be more a hindrance. Didn't he take a long holiday a few months back while negotiations with players were on going and everything had to go on hold?

He was responsible for making a mess of Marty Moores negotiations

So far zero players have mode between provinces because of him, Ulster were meant to be getting a back row from Leinster and it never happened Rolling Eyes


I'm not sure if you mean financial/value credit or title credit, but he certainly has been involved. There may well be a view that he's more hindrance than help, but his detractors would say that, wouldn't they, if they wanted the status quo to remain.

From everything I've read and heard, the move by Cian Kelleher to Connacht was driven by Nucifora. Willie Ruane and other CEOs relate to him as the person responsible for academy and player development.

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Re: Grassroots to Green Shirts: Connacht launch their strategy

Post by marty2086 on Thu 19 May 2016, 12:28 pm

Pot Hale wrote:
marty2086 wrote:
Pot Hale wrote:In addition, Nucifora's programme seems to be slowly taking hold and poaching by the other three may diminish if he has a strong say on who's moving where.

Im not sure how much credit you can give Nucifora, from everything I've heard he seems to be more a hindrance. Didn't he take a long holiday a few months back while negotiations with players were on going and everything had to go on hold?

He was responsible for making a mess of Marty Moores negotiations

So far zero players have mode between provinces because of him, Ulster were meant to be getting a back row from Leinster and it never happened Rolling Eyes


I'm not sure if you mean financial/value credit or title credit, but he certainly has been involved.  There may well be a view that he's more hindrance than help, but his detractors would say that, wouldn't they, if they wanted the status quo to remain.  

From everything I've read and heard, the move by Cian Kelleher to Connacht was driven by Nucifora.  Willie Ruane and other CEOs relate to him as the person responsible for academy and player development.  

I mean any credit, the facts speak for themselves. Nucifora low balled Moore and he signed with Wasps, when Schmidt told him to fix it he tried to get Moore out of the contract but was too late.

From what I read Kelleher was the driving force behind the move to Connacht, he had accepted a development contract with Leinster but wanted a full contract and had his agent contact Connacht who jumped at the chance to sign him. Nuciforas name is mentioned because Leinster feel he should have stopped it going through

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Re: Grassroots to Green Shirts: Connacht launch their strategy

Post by SecretFly on Thu 19 May 2016, 12:33 pm

Lam is key.

If ever a side needed a few years of top rated consistency, it's Connacht.  They need to ride this confidence wave for all it's got to get their foundations cemented in before any disenchantment sets in.

If they have to take onboard another Coach next year, just as they're about to fight on two major fronts..... it's going to be dicey if that happens.

Lam sticking around to keep everything at least familiar for a year or two yet would be close to essential at this stage.  You can't be building stadiums with any degree of enthusiasm whilst back down close to the bottom of Pro12.

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Re: Grassroots to Green Shirts: Connacht launch their strategy

Post by Sin é on Thu 19 May 2016, 2:12 pm

I think keeping Bundi will be key for them. And its going to be difficult - he has a wife and 2 kids back in New Zealand.

Dillane is probably the only player they have got who might have strong allegiance elsewhere (and it wasn't that he was ignored either by Munster). Marmion has a lot of family in the area, so he will probably stick around. I think the IRFU should do everything in their power to keep Bundee with Connacht. He seems to be the heartbeat of the team and has given them their swagger.

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Re: Grassroots to Green Shirts: Connacht launch their strategy

Post by SecretFly on Thu 19 May 2016, 2:17 pm

If Lam goes Bundi will be inclined to follow though? All roads lead to Lam.

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Re: Grassroots to Green Shirts: Connacht launch their strategy

Post by marty2086 on Thu 19 May 2016, 2:19 pm

SecretFly wrote:If Lam goes Bundi will be inclined to follow though?  All roads lead to Lam.

He brought Heenan in too, though hes oft injured isn't he?

Wasn't McCaw in Dublin a while back saying Bundee should go back to NZ as he has a shot at the ABs?

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Re: Grassroots to Green Shirts: Connacht launch their strategy

Post by Sin é on Thu 19 May 2016, 2:22 pm

I don't think Lam will go though. Probably trying to keep the IRFU on their toes so they don't take him for granted. From what he said about his learning from being sacked by the Blues, he would not go to a club like Bath where he would be sacked like Ford was.

Release clauses sound more like if he was offered an international job.

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Re: Grassroots to Green Shirts: Connacht launch their strategy

Post by SecretFly on Thu 19 May 2016, 2:28 pm

marty2086 wrote:
SecretFly wrote:If Lam goes Bundi will be inclined to follow though?  All roads lead to Lam.

He brought Heenan in too, though hes oft injured isn't he?

Wasn't McCaw in Dublin a while back saying Bundee should go back to NZ as he has a shot at the ABs?

Yeah he was and he did.  I think McCaw will have a few more things to say too before the year is out and that f**king eejit that did the interview spills it all in the one drop.  He's been drip-feeding comments from McCaw for weeks - you'd swear McCaw is living here now.  I hear he's going to do two seasons for Leinster for BIG money, but nobody say I said that Whistle

In one way I agree with McCaw and his comments.  We'd feel the same if an Irish player was flying elsewhere and we wanted him home for International potential.

That's why these residency things are getting very messy and becoming too much like meat being bought and sold.  It's beginning to look cheap as Nations fight for certain players in this extended verbal dance.

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Re: Grassroots to Green Shirts: Connacht launch their strategy

Post by carpet baboon on Thu 19 May 2016, 3:30 pm

Sin é wrote:I think keeping Bundi will be key for them. And its going to be difficult - he has a wife and 2 kids back in New Zealand.

Dillane is probably the only player they have got who might have strong allegiance elsewhere (and it wasn't that he was ignored either by Munster). Marmion has a lot of family in the area, so he will probably stick around. I think the IRFU should do everything in their power to keep Bundee with Connacht. He seems to be the heartbeat of the team and has given them their swagger.

I was under the Impression his wife and kids had moved over now?

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Re: Grassroots to Green Shirts: Connacht launch their strategy

Post by profitius on Thu 19 May 2016, 3:33 pm

marty2086 wrote:
I mean any credit, the facts speak for themselves. Nucifora low balled Moore and he signed with Wasps, when Schmidt told him to fix it he tried to get Moore out of the contract but was too late.

From what I read Kelleher was the driving force behind the move to Connacht, he had accepted a development contract with Leinster but wanted a full contract and had his agent contact Connacht who jumped at the chance to sign him. Nuciforas name is mentioned because Leinster feel he should have stopped it going through


Only Moore, Madigan and Scholes have left the country. Other provinces would have jumped at the chance of signing Scholes but it looks like he wanted to leave. Madigan got offered way more money than what the IRFu think he is worth.


In Moore's case, Nucifora thought having the 3 first choice Ireland props playing for the one team wasn't good for anyone. So he was asked to move province but refused and went to Wasps instead. The man is permanently injured so it might be no loss.


In previous seasons Kelleher would not have been allowed move from Leinster as he was contracted. Nucifora made that move possible.

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Re: Grassroots to Green Shirts: Connacht launch their strategy

Post by marty2086 on Thu 19 May 2016, 3:51 pm

profitius wrote:In previous seasons Kelleher would not have been allowed move from Leinster as he was contracted. Nucifora made that move possible.

Kelleher wasn't contracted though, he had agreed a deal but not signed one so he was free to move. Nucifora could have prevented it but whatever he did was going to set a precedent, if he allowed it to go through then it opened the door for players to play provinces against each other, if he blocked it then hes seen as favouring Leinster and hurting Connacht and Kelleher probably goes abroad.

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Re: Grassroots to Green Shirts: Connacht launch their strategy

Post by profitius on Thu 19 May 2016, 3:53 pm

True Raven wrote:Unfortunately Connacht will never grow whilst the other three provinces continue to use Connacht as their feeder club.  Wont be long until Dillane, Bealham etc move to a different province.  

Hope the trend stops but with Henshaw moving to Leinster, it's unlikely


They used to get half the money from the IRFU that the big 3 got. Now they're getting equal funding so they should be able to hang on to more of their players.


Some players will leave, others will come. Apparently many players from around the country are contacting Pat Lam with a view to moving to Connacht. Performance director, David Nucifora is 'encouraging' players to move around more. That means more players like Cian Kelleher who won't be spending 3 or 4 years hanging around cafes as they wait for their chance.

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Re: Grassroots to Green Shirts: Connacht launch their strategy

Post by marty2086 on Thu 19 May 2016, 4:05 pm

Pat Lam wrote:We were notified by his agent that he was available and keen, so the beauty is – and what we are really happy about – is that we have a player who has ambitions to play for his country and has realised that in the past two years he hasn’t been in the shop window

Maybe Nucifora is Kellehers agent Rolling Eyes

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Re: Grassroots to Green Shirts: Connacht launch their strategy

Post by Pot Hale on Thu 19 May 2016, 5:51 pm

marty2086 wrote:
Pat Lam wrote:We were notified by his agent that he was available and keen, so the beauty is – and what we are really happy about – is that we have a player who has ambitions to play for his country and has realised that in the past two years he hasn’t been in the shop window

Maybe Nucifora is Kellehers agent Rolling Eyes

Or maybe Nucifora just spoke to the player and encouraged him to move to another province.  That's what part of his job is.   He can't force players, but he can point to how a player could develop within the Irish system, and how his opportunities might develop better in Ireland, rather than reduce if he moved abroad. It's not that difficult to imagine.

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Re: Grassroots to Green Shirts: Connacht launch their strategy

Post by Pot Hale on Thu 19 May 2016, 5:55 pm

profitius wrote:
True Raven wrote:Unfortunately Connacht will never grow whilst the other three provinces continue to use Connacht as their feeder club.  Wont be long until Dillane, Bealham etc move to a different province.  

Hope the trend stops but with Henshaw moving to Leinster, it's unlikely


They used to get half the money from the IRFU that the big 3 got. Now they're getting equal funding so they should be able to hang on to more of their players.


Some players will leave, others will come. Apparently many players from around the country are contacting Pat Lam with a view to moving to Connacht. Performance director, David Nucifora is 'encouraging' players to move around more. That means more players like Cian Kelleher who won't be spending 3 or 4 years hanging around cafes as they wait for their chance.

I don't think Connacht are on an equal funding footing yet, Profitius. They got more money central money this year, same as other clubs, but I think they are still out of step with the other three. That may change with the launch of this strategy, and performances this season.

Schmidt and Nucifora made a point of attending the launch yesterday to indicate green light all round.

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Re: Grassroots to Green Shirts: Connacht launch their strategy

Post by marty2086 on Thu 19 May 2016, 6:01 pm

Pot Hale wrote:
marty2086 wrote:
Pat Lam wrote:We were notified by his agent that he was available and keen, so the beauty is – and what we are really happy about – is that we have a player who has ambitions to play for his country and has realised that in the past two years he hasn’t been in the shop window

Maybe Nucifora is Kellehers agent Rolling Eyes

Or maybe Nucifora just spoke to the player and encouraged him to move to another province.  That's what part of his job is.   He can't force players, but he can point to how a player could develop within the Irish system, and how his opportunities might develop better in Ireland, rather than reduce if he moved abroad.  It's not that difficult to imagine.

Then why did the players agent need to be the one notifying them of his availability? Maybe Nucifora only did half his job then?

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Re: Grassroots to Green Shirts: Connacht launch their strategy

Post by Pot Hale on Thu 19 May 2016, 6:09 pm

marty2086 wrote:
Pot Hale wrote:
marty2086 wrote:
Pat Lam wrote:We were notified by his agent that he was available and keen, so the beauty is – and what we are really happy about – is that we have a player who has ambitions to play for his country and has realised that in the past two years he hasn’t been in the shop window

Maybe Nucifora is Kellehers agent Rolling Eyes

Or maybe Nucifora just spoke to the player and encouraged him to move to another province.  That's what part of his job is.   He can't force players, but he can point to how a player could develop within the Irish system, and how his opportunities might develop better in Ireland, rather than reduce if he moved abroad.  It's not that difficult to imagine.

Then why did the players agent need to be the one notifying them of his availability? Maybe Nucifora only did half his job then?

Because maybe not everything gets said in public, Marty.  

-Pat, you've been looking at the young lad Kelleher?  
-We have.  
-I'm hoping to persuade him to move provinces than move abroad.   If I can, are you interested, we think he'd be a good fit?  
-Yep.  
-Ok, I'll talk to him and no doubt his agent will be in touch to let ye know officially on his behalf, if he's interested.

I've had plenty of similar conversations in my working life where things are sounded out unofficially first.

The source of your irritation would seem to stem from an earlier comment you made: "Ulster were meant to be getting a back row from Leinster and it never happened." What's the story behind that?

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Re: Grassroots to Green Shirts: Connacht launch their strategy

Post by marty2086 on Thu 19 May 2016, 7:55 pm

I made that comment along with a number of others yet you single that out?

You have created a scenario that contradicts the facts, Lam has clearly said it was the players agent who made them aware. He has also said players are contacting him wanting to come to Connacht.

I have no issue with the lack of Leinster backrow going to Ulster other than it would have been great to have. Its always been struggle getting players to move North but given the injuries and retirements in Leinsters backrow coupled with call ups and rotation the opportunities are there for the players.


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Re: Grassroots to Green Shirts: Connacht launch their strategy

Post by Pot Hale on Thu 19 May 2016, 11:54 pm

marty2086 wrote:I made that comment along with a number of others yet you single that out?

You have created a scenario that contradicts the facts, Lam has clearly said it was the players agent who made them aware. He has also said players are contacting him wanting to come to Connacht.

I have no issue with the lack of Leinster backrow going to Ulster other than it would have been great to have. Its always been struggle getting players to move North but given the injuries and retirements in Leinsters backrow coupled with call ups and rotation the opportunities are there for the players.


"....with Cian Kelleher's move west drawing the ire of a provincial spokesman who complained of "broken protocols" to the Sunday Independent before the move had even been confirmed.

The complaints were rich, given they are coming from the province who have routinely picked off Connacht's best players and have already secured their leading international, Robbie Henshaw, for next season. Yet they are unhappy that the IRFU might have encouraged the 21-year-old to move the other way despite their understanding that he would sign a development contract to remain.

Accounts vary on the precise details of who made first contact, with Pat Lam's assertion that the player's agent made the move in dispute, but ultimately Kelleher has decided that the best thing for his career is to make the move.
It is all part of the ongoing power struggle between the provinces and headquarters on Lansdowne Road and the perceived intervention of IRFU performance director David Nucifora that has stoked the fires in UCD."


This article supports what I'm referring to in relation to unofficial contact.   You could say that Lam is hardly going to land Nucifora in it, by saying he got in touch with him first.   So it suits all parties (bar Leinster) to say that the agent got in touch first on behalf of Kelleher.   It would appear that Leinster are the ones dragging their feet on Nucifora's strategy, hence their annoyance at his apparent intervention.

"While Leinster appear resistant to the idea, other provinces are buying in. Lam is certainly on board, while Les Kiss is fully aware of the other side of the equation from his time within the Irish set-up. Nucifora helped appoint Rassie Erasmus to Munster, so you can be sure he's aware of the structure he's expected to work within.

"In New Zealand, all of the Super Rugby teams have players from all over the country; players who want to play for the All Blacks," Lam said. "Now we have got a similar thing, a young player who wants to play for Ireland realises that he has got to get in the shop window."

It won't be part of Connacht's plan, but it's possible that, if the move works out, Kelleher could return to Leinster a better player with a bank of provincial rugby under his belt and some Ireland caps to boot. Almost two years in to his time in charge, Nucifora's vision is taking shape. It's time to get on board."

(Source: http://www.independent.ie/sport/rugby/leinster-rugby/leinster-need-to-see-sense-with-nuciforas-clear-vision-34686557.html)

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Re: Grassroots to Green Shirts: Connacht launch their strategy

Post by marty2086 on Fri 20 May 2016, 10:27 am

Got to love conspiracy theories

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Re: Grassroots to Green Shirts: Connacht launch their strategy

Post by Pot Hale on Fri 20 May 2016, 11:42 am

marty2086 wrote:Got to love conspiracy theories

Indeed you do. Smile

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Re: Grassroots to Green Shirts: Connacht launch their strategy

Post by profitius on Wed 01 Jun 2016, 12:09 pm

So, can they make it 2 in a row next season?


Losing a few big players but they've a few injured to come back and a few new signings.

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Re: Grassroots to Green Shirts: Connacht launch their strategy

Post by SecretFly on Wed 01 Jun 2016, 12:23 pm

That's my only concern about Connacht.  I'm unfortunately long enough on the planet to realise certain things don't always work out according to the wishes of some enthusiastic hordes celebrating on a fine summer's day.

Rhythms are harder to sustain and can quickly fade as if almost by chaos theory alone.  Same personnel, same conditions, same determination, same drive and ambition...different year............... anything can happen.

I hope Connacht push on and become a sustained powerhouse in the west and not just in Pro12 either.  But I hope all there now realise it will probably take more effort next year.  Players will undoubtedly be that little bit more relaxed in their confidence levels - it happens whether you try to invent ways of stopping it or not.  They'll be more confident, they will no longer feel the burden or drive of 'having so much to prove'.  So they won't be complacent but that relaxed confidence might see them not as 'afraid' to lose as they were this season.

Plus - Munster will I think strike harder.  Ulster, for me, will certainly strike harder.  I've been impressed by Kiss's period.  They look good!  And of course, the Welsh - going to be as disinterested or bad next season????  I strongly doubt it.
Add that to Glasgow still potent, Edinburgh climbing and European Cup rugby to negotiate.....
2 in a row will be Tough!

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Re: Grassroots to Green Shirts: Connacht launch their strategy

Post by profitius on Wed 01 Jun 2016, 6:01 pm


I think they'll be strong again next season. Just looking at the players who missed the final. Many of those were first choice throughout the season.

15. Leader
14. Poolman
13. Parata
12. Ronaldson
11. Carr

1. Buckley
2. Harris-Wright
3. White
4. Naoupu
5. Roux
6. Connolly
7. Fox-Matamua
8. Masterson
9. Blade
10. Carty


Obviously replacing Henshaw and Muldowney will be a headache. MacGinty's replacement Boshoff has a Springbok cap so might not be too bad.

profitius

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Join date : 2012-01-25

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Re: Grassroots to Green Shirts: Connacht launch their strategy

Post by Sponsored content Today at 4:06 am


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