Friday 30 September 2016

Seeing the standards set by Ireland's World Cup contenders a real lift

Published 22/08/2015 | 12:01

Ireland's Jamie Heaslip during squad training last week at Carton House
Ireland's Jamie Heaslip during squad training last week at Carton House

Everyone's hanging out, waiting for Joe to cut his squad to his final 31 and, having seen the Ireland players come into the Leinster set-up from camp this week, it is clear to see how competitive the Irish environment is right now and how difficult his job will be.

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It's their down-week, but they have all been in doing their conditioning extras, desperately seeking that extra edge that might get them on the plane to England and Wales.

The performance in the win over Wales was outstanding, nobody put a foot wrong, but then there were a few hiccups against Scotland, but the competition is driving the players on.

They are under immense pressure and they are all trying to find that little bit extra.

Some will find it away on holidays and relaxing, others will get it by staying behind and working harder than ever to do everything possible to get more of an edge.

Seeing that just emphasises to me how good a state Irish rugby is in - it can only mean good things.

To see Jack Conan, who won his first cap last weekend, come back in with us underlines the commitment of the players, while you have Jamie Heaslip here before anyone else and leaving after everybody else, trying to do everything possible so that he can relax and have a couple of days off.

You have guys at different stages of their career doing things differently, but with the same goal in mind.

It's been a good example to the group of players training at Leinster that, just because we're not training for a World Cup, our intensity shouldn't be at a lower level as we work towards our opening fixture against Edinburgh. It drives the excellence and standards.

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