The magnificent New Zealand team, winners of the U19 Rugby World Cup, and the Ulster branch, deserve much credit for mounting the event.
How surprising then, that according to the Irish U19 coach (Belfast Telegraph, April 16) this has, in his opinion, raised serious questions about the preparation of our players and the aims of rugby in our schools.
It makes one wonder if our performance this year was being used as an excuse by the host country for not doing better, even though our young men played their hearts out.
What exacerbates the folly of such suggestions as to indulge in greater specialist conditioning of our young players and give them over from our schools into the hands of the 'professional brigade' of such coaches, is the ludicrous assertion that the primary aim of schools' rugby is to produce teams capable of winning the Schools' Cup.
It will be strongly emphasised by virtually every headmaster and every coach of the rugby playing schools in Ireland that the primary aim is to produce players who enjoy rugby so much in a highly competitive way that they will wish to continue playing the game into adulthood. How to win - and, more importantly, how to lose - are every bit as important as doing well.
If providing professional rugby players was ever deemed to be the sole purpose of rugby in schools, then it is likely that many heads would withdraw their schools from the competition. There is no room for compromise. If we produce some players for the professional game, then so be it - but it is not primarily what we are about.
It will be a very sad day for both sport and education if it ever were to become so.
P D Hewitt Headmaster, The Royal School, Dungannon