4 Up 2013 – Year 3

henshaw-try-nz

That’s a Framer: Robbie Henshaw caps off a memorable week in the Windy City.

We selected four players from the u20 cohort of 2013 in order to follow their progress in a similar manner as applied to their predecessors of 2012. One player was selected from each province. All the players selected from 2013 were backs who had started at centre for the Irish u20 team, for two reasons. Firstly, the 2013 backs caught my eye more than the forwards from that year and, secondly, with D’Arcy and O’Driscoll each moving closer to retirement, the starting centre berths at national level would soon become far less competitive after many years.

Continue reading

5 Up 2012 – Year 4

hendy_paulie

– “Who wrote that book for you?” -“Who read it to you?!” Can Hendy translate athletic ability into a great career? He had the right example at the right time so he knows how it is done. Fulfilling that potential is the hard part.

We started the 5 Up Series nearly five years ago. We were interested to see how aspiring professional players developed and what factors affected their progress. Five players were chosen: one from each of the provinces and a second, from Leinster, who would have another season at underage level the following year. Continue reading

5 Up 2014 – Year 1

Jack O'Donoghue's got a nose for the try line

Jack O’Donoghue’s got a nose for the try line

The third year of the 5 Up Series followed five players in four provinces. In the second year of the series we concentrated on midfielders for reasons outlined at the time. In this year there was a preponderance of back row players, or back five if you’d rather categorise Sean O’Brien as a second row as we did.

At the beginning of each series the players are bound together by age-grade representative rugby for the national team. Those ties are temporary and, while not exactly going their separate ways, there is a greater diversity of experience in the subsequent seasons.
Continue reading

4 Up 2013 – Year 2

Robbie Henshaw took to international rugby pretty quickly and earned a Championship medal in his first full season.

Robbie Henshaw took to international rugby pretty quickly and earned a Championship medal in his first full season.

We selected four players from the u20 cohort of 2013 in order to follow their progress in a similar manner as applied to their predecessors of 2012. One player was selected from each province. All the players selected from 2013 were backs, who had started at centre for the Irish u20 team, for two reasons. Firstly, the 2013 backs caught my eye more than the forwards from that year and, secondly, with D’Arcy and O’Driscoll each moving closer to retirement, the starting centre berths at national level would soon become far less competitive after many years. Continue reading

5 Up 2012 – Year 3

Like many of his generation Conor Gilsenan headed to London for employment.

Like many of his generation Conor Gilsenan headed to London for employment.

We started the 5 Up Series three years ago. We were interested to see how aspiring professional players developed and what factors affected their progress. Five players were chosen: one from each of the provinces and a second, from Leinster, who would have another season at underage level the following year. Continue reading

5 Up 2014

The Class of 2014. David Busby's injury created an opening for Frankie Taggart

The Class of 2014. David Busby’s injury created an opening for Frankie Taggart

First things first – no Ringrose! The 5 Up format has bedded down, in this its third year, and we’ve once again selected one player from each of the provinces and a fifth who has had two years at international level. Ireland’s third nominee for the Junior Player of the Year award (after Jamie Heaslip and JJ Hanrahan) is back at this level next year and we chose two of his Leinster colleagues to concentrate on.

Continue reading

4 Up 2013 – Year 1

Stuart Olding hot steps over from 40m against Treviso. I love Andrew Trimble’s reaction as he crosses the line!

Intro

We selected four players from the u20 cohort of 2013 in order to follow their progress in a similar manner as applied to their predecessors of 2012. One player was selected from each province. All the players selected from 2013 were backs, who had started at centre for the Irish u20 team, for two reasons. Firstly, the 2013 backs caught my eye more than the forwards from that year and, secondly, with D’Arcy and O’Driscoll each moving close to retirement, the starting centre berths at national level would soon become far less competitive after many years. Continue reading