While Ireland’s World Cup campaign hasn’t gone the way many expected, it’s important to savour the unique experience that many of these players, as well as their families, are experiencing for the first time.
Opportunities like these don’t come along too often and Chris Farrell knows that. Having admitted that he found it difficult acclimatising to Japan on tour two years ago, Farrell says both he and his family are having an amazing experience this time around.
“I’ve really enjoyed it. It’s obviously a really different culture to anything we’ve experienced. The Japanese are unbelievably welcoming.
“My parents have been here the last three weeks and my father would be old school enough – he wouldn’t be using Google Maps on his phone, he certainly doesn’t have an iPhone I’d be sure. But he says any time he gets a map out in a station there’s always someone looking to make sure he’s going the right direction. From what I’ve gathered from the experiences of my family, they’ve all been the same, all really welcoming.
“I was lucky enough to be here two years ago on that (Ireland) tour. To be honest, the first couple of days last time, I didn’t really enjoy it that much just because it was such a culture shock and it was so different. But by the time I was leaving, I loved it and couldn’t wait to get back.”
While the experience is one to savour, Farrell knows that performances on the pitch count for so much and Ireland let themselves down last week against Japan.
The Munster player admits the days following that defeat were tough but the mood in the camp is still positive as the players continue to bond and look out for one another.
“No matter who you lose to, it’s tough to be in camp and not get a break from that, because you are around the same lads that you played with and you don’t get to go home to your family, or you don’t get to meet up with your friends and talk about something completely different.
“Most people are dwelling on that for a couple of days and it does take a little bit of time, but for the large part of how long we’ve been here, it’s been really good. We’ve bonded well as a team, we’ve all got out into the cities and done things we find enjoyable, enjoying each other’s company.
“So the mood in the camp is very good, it’s very positive. We just need to look after our own ship now. We need to get what we need to get out of the Samoa game. After that everything will take care of itself.
“Next week will be nice because we’ll have a full game prep. It will feel more like a Six Nations or November series Test match where we’ve got a full week leading into it. Monday, Tuesday we’ll get stuck into the nitty-gritty of it and it will feel like a proper build-up to a test match.”