English legend's old-school training stories a far cry from current Irish set-up 5 months ago

English legend's old-school training stories a far cry from current Irish set-up

Like a scene out of Happy Gilmore.

Rugby in Ireland appears to be moving away from the old-school mentality of young players having to learn the tough way about professional rugby, and having to eat some hard knocks before they are accepted by the senior squad.

On a recent episode of JOE UK's House of Rugby, Mike Tindall recounted some colourful tales of younger players having to earn their stripes with the senior brigade. One included former Bath and England star Jeremy Guscott refusing to talk to younger players until they had 'earned his respect'.

That may have been tough love from Guscott, but it got much tougher than that.

"We played Firsts versus Seconds every Thursday night so you could just try to beat the crap out of him," said Tindall. "That is how you got to impress them. Fill them in on a Thursday, before a game."

Andrew Trimble made his first strides in professional rugby seven years after Tindall, but his take on young players breaking into senior squads is markedly different.

During the latest episode of Baz & Andrew's House of Rugby [from 40:00 below], Trimble gave his take on how much more inclusive modern rugby squads should be.

Trimble believes the current Leinster and Ireland squads are perfect examples of how young players should be integrated. "I would have hated to have played in that [old-school] environment," he said, "with that sort of hierarchy and all the tough guys down the back of the bus just knocking all the kids out. Like, it's 2018!

"Why don't you just talk to people you like and find interesting? Regardless of how many caps they have, why don't you like them for who they are? Call me old-fashioned...

"Is that not an environment you want to create in a rugby team - everybody being mates, everyone is on the same level together and works hard for each other? That's the way I see it anyway."

In his chat with Tindall, the former Ulster and Ireland winger recalled one memorable exception, when a young player memorably stepped up to a senior pro - Johnny Sexton. He commented:

"There wouldn't have any people [at Ulster] getting knocked out, really. There would be scuffles and stuff. 

"Actually, a few years ago, Sexton got set upon by the Under 20s hooker, at the time. Adam McBurney, who is playing for Ulster now.

"I don't know if this has been exaggerated but McBurney pulled Sexton's jersey over his head and then upper-cutted him."

"Johnny would have got involved in those a little bit, to be fair," Trimble added. "He'd be great, though, because as soon as you got off the pitch, you'd be great mates again."