Rules & Regulations

Munster Schools Rugby


Rules & Regulations


Guidance Memorandum on the issue of school status and the implications for representative rugby

September 2002

There are two classes of school membership of the Munster Schools Committee: full and associate. Within full membership, there are three levels of status: ‘A’, ‘B’ and ‘C’. Initially, upon an approved request for affiliation, a school is classified as an associate member. The process for attaining full membership requires formal ratification by the Munster Branch and usually happens some years after attaining associate status. Such a decision is based on the track record of the school in its participation in schools rugby. Such factors as consistency of regular participation, enduring involvement in main line competitions, the presence or availability of an infrastructure to maintain its participation, the availability of coaching and financial resources to sustain its level of operation and its record to date are all taken into account in making such a decision.

Within full membership, the three levels of status (‘A’, ‘B’ and ‘C’) reflect a level of development and commitment to the game. For practical purposes, there is no difference between ‘C’ status and Associate status. Both types are treated the same in the day to day running of schools rugby. Both types retain the rights of any school to participate in school competitions (subject to bye-laws and rules). Associate schools share the privileges accorded ‘C’ school status. Specifically, this means that associate membership gives a school a start in joining the school rugby community and enables it create the conditions necessary to sustain a regular commitment. ‘C’ school or associate school players may play with their club and retain the right to be picked for representative rugby by the Youths representative structure. Very often, it can happen that a local youth team would have a number of players going to a local school. It may be decided to have that local school play in schools rugby. By so doing, such players would retain their right to play for the youth representative level.*

In principle, any school player of any affiliated school is eligible to play for the full senior Munster schools team subject to the schools bye-laws and the guidelines laid down by the selection committee. In practice, the vast majority of such players come from the ‘A’ school sector. This is explained by their traditions, standards and high levels of development. If a schools player from a ‘B’, ‘C’ or ‘Associate School’ is of such discernible talent, that school is entitled to nominate such a player for consideration to the Chairman of the Munster Schools Selection Committee subject to the committee’s guidelines. In season 2003/04, the chairman is Tony Smith from Rockwell College. This ideally should be done by March/April of the previous season but certainly no later than the first week of September of the current season and then with a credible explanation as to why such nomination wasn’t made the previous March/April. Any later would be far too late, as, by that stage, potential representative players are going through a series of assessment and developmental hurdles.

There is a second schools representative team, called the Munster ‘A’ interprovincial team. The genesis of its establishment was to provide a representative structure for school players from the ‘B’ schools sector. Such players are not eligible for youth representative level. They are eligible for the full senior Munster Schools interprovincial team. In practice, however, only a small number of players from ‘B’ schools make it to the full senior Munster Schools team.

This Munster ‘A’ interprovincial team is distinct from the full senior Munster Schools interprovincial team. It is not a second XV. Only players from ‘B’ status schools and from season 2002/03, players from ‘C’/Associate Schools who are overage for youth representative level are eligible for the Munster ‘A’ interprovincial team subject to the schools bye-laws and the guidelines issued by that selection committee.

A player is only eligible for one representative level, schools or youth. The rationale for this is simple and just. It affords the maximum potential to develop a wider base of potential representative players.

(All the above is for informational purposes only. It does not seek to definitively define all the conditions necessary for a school player to be eligible and nominated to any interprovincial panel. These conditions must be clarified with the Chairman of the respective selection committee. There are two: one for the full senior side and one for the Munster ‘A’ side.). In season 2003/2004, these are: Tony Smith of Rockwell for the Munster Schools Senior side and Mike Ashmore of Newtown for the Munster ‘A’ Schools Senior side.

September 2003

Only ‘A’ and ‘B’ schools are eligible for consideration under the Schools of Ireland Scheme. This is a financial assistance scheme which augments the already committed level of expenditure in schools where rugby is a core investment. This is a national scheme administered through the National Schools Office and Mr. John Murphy of the IRFU. There are laid down criteria covering the scale of operation upon which a level of financial support is given. Once on the scheme, a school could be on one of six different levels. If a school improves and meets the criteria of a higher level, this will be reflected in the level of financial support.

Only ‘C’ and ‘Associate’ schools are eligible for consideration under the YDO Scheme. This is a system which enables a partnership arrangement between the IRFU and local clubs to have in a defined geographical area the services of a Youth Development Officer to help schools develop. A YDO will directly assist an emerging and growing school with coaching and other services in its development.

February 2004