Glasgow defeat was a blow – but tour call-up helped lift the cloud
Published 23/05/2014 | 02:30
It's hard to know whether I should be happy or sad after the activities of the last week, but there is no doubt the loss to Glasgow really stings.
At the full-time whistle in Scotstoun last Friday, it felt like all the hard work, toil, training and tough match time was for nothing. Losing semi-finals is like a kick in the guts, so to add two to that unwanted collection in the space of three weeks is a big blow.
But then after a day of feeling sorry for myself, I got an email from the IRFU calling me up for the tour to Argentina. I have to be honest, that has lifted the cloud a little, so the aim now is to put everything I have into making that two-game tour a complete success for me and the team.
I suppose, before we put the Pro12 season to bed altogether and pretend it didn't mean anything, we may as well talk about it a bit more.
It was majorly disappointing. When we reviewed the game, we saw that we had a lot of chances which we didn't take. Any time that happens, you reduce the likelihood of picking up a win, especially against such quality opposition.
Yeah, I had a very frustrating few hours after the semi-final and it still is very disappointing. Too see all the potential we have in the squad and then not to fulfil it must drive the management team mad.
In all reality, Glasgow were better than us at the breakdown and that ultimately cost us. They are a ferocious outfit, they commit plenty to the ruck and when they show patience in possession, it's hard to knock them off their ball.
I just don't think we were good enough on the day to win. I wouldn't like to make excuses for it. Fair play to them, they deserved the win and chance to take on Leinster.
It all makes for an interesting final, but I'd hate to be the one to try and separate the sides. I really wouldn't like to call it. Glasgow beat us in Thomond Park and in Scotstoun in the last month or so, so we know they are in form and are a top side. Their approach to the game was very effective against us.
On the other hand, Leinster are also coming into a bit of form as well. They deservedly topped the league standings and I was impressed with how they really dug in deep to pull out the win against Ulster on Saturday.
Usually home advantage is key in these winner-takes-all games, but Glasgow have shown in the last few weeks that they are a formidable side on the road. Toss the coin and make your call, because I haven't a clue who'll win it.
I was watching the phone on Sunday. The usual thing when the Ireland squad is about to be announced is that an email arrives on the Sunday evening to tell you if you're in. If you don't hear that 'ping' of the email arriving, then you're not in. The longer it goes on without landing in your inbox, the more you feel that you've missed out, but when I finally saw it drop – after countless refreshes of the email – I was thrilled.
To go on tour with Ireland at the end of the season is always the icing on the cake.
After we had just the two lads, Paulie and Conor, involved during the Six Nations match-day squads, it was great to see the eight of us called up for the tour of Argentina.
It is real progress for us and it probably shows that we are doing something right as a province. And then to see that two of my front-row buddies, James Cronin and Damien Varley, had made it too was great. We felt all season that our scrum had been going well, so to see the three of us in there for the summer is a good lift for all of us; it isn't a bad ratio.
After getting the notification on Sunday, we all met up in the Clyde Court Hotel in Lansdowne on Monday before 12.0 noon.
As usual on the first day of meeting up, there was a lot of detail to go through, paperwork to sort out and arrangements to make.
The aim of it all was to get as much of the detail cleared and organise our training in the short space of time we had. In the end, we had a couple of sessions on Monday and then we trained again on the Tuesday in the Aviva.
At this stage, we are still not sure who we'll be facing. The Argentinian squad has not been confirmed yet – it depends on how the French league final goes I think – so this week was all focused on ourselves, our own plays and getting our own house in order.
After the couple of hectic days, it was back to our provinces with us. We won't see each other until we fly out on the day after the Pro12 final.
Basically we have nine or 10 days left to get ourselves in perfect working order for the tour. I'll probably focus a lot on my weights and some conditioning work, so I'll be busy. It is nice to have something to work for, I'm sure it would be a tougher week if I didn't and I'm sure some of the other boys are finding it difficult.
Really, though, it's a pity that we don't have at least one more game to look forward to this season with Munster. I'd have loved a crack at the final, we were desperately close, but falling at the second-last fence isn't much good.
This time next year Rodders...
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