SA tour can be this squad's Krasnoyarsk
I was sceptical when the announcement came that the two South African teams would be joining the league, writes Ronan Loughney. It felt like a knee-jerk decision and possibly lacked any proper consideration.
Before this, the potential addition of American teams was rumoured to be the most likely future change. It seemed like a now-or-never situation with the alternative being a potential end to the two franchises. So far it has proved a mostly positive change.
It added another dimension to the competition and the players will no doubt be enjoying the experience of travelling to a different continent to play. Two years ago, we had the incredible experience of travelling to Siberia to play in the Challenge Cup.
The travel issues we faced on the return leg were well-documented but my abiding memory of the whole experience was how it galvanised us. We arrived back in Galway on a Thursday and having had the worst week of preparation you could imagine we managed to beat Brive in the Sportsground two days later.
There are many different things that lead to consistency and confidence, but strong relationships, trust and belief amongst players are central.
This two weeks on the road are a perfect opportunity for this squad to grow closer and in doing so grow the confidence and belief within the squad.