Leinster Rugby look set to face a tough battle to hold on to their up-and-coming stars as French clubs target their successful Academy operation.
“We know that top French and English clubs are sending people over to look at our Academy,” said Des Lamont, chairman of Leinster’s provincial team management committee.
“Given the quality of players it has been producing, there is obviously interest in how the operation has been so successful, and, of course, they are also looking at potential recruits.”
Graduates from the academy such as Sean O’Brien, Fergus McFadden, Eoin O’Malley, Dominic Ryan and Rhys Ruddock have been starring all season as Leinster reached the Heineken Cup quarter finals.
And former prop Reggie Corrigan, who works with the Academy as scrum coach, said it was inevitable that the province’s Academy operation would attract overseas interest:
” The Academy system in Leinster is streets ahead of most and the proof is in the quality of players it is producing and the province’s success at underage levels. It doesn’t surprise me that the French and English are taking a close look at it and while there is the risk of Leinster losing players before they are brought through, it is also testament to the good work that is being done there, and a lot of credit must go to (Academy manager) Colin McEntee.”