McCarthy the fall-guy after bottling bungee
YESTERDAY'S down day for the Irish team saw a range of activities attempted with varying degrees of success.
A party of players headed up to the top of Auckland's famous 1,078ft Sky Tower to do the country's tallest bungee, the Sky Jump.
A thoroughly invigorating experience by all accounts, except for Mike McCarthy, who bottled it at the critical moment, his embarrassment compounded by the T-shirt bought by delighted colleagues which bore the simple message "I nearly did the Sky Jump" over a picture of a chicken.
Meanwhile, there was also time for a bit of personal grooming, with pictures emerging of Jamie Heaslip sitting in the imaginatively titled 'ProfessioNAIL' parlour, presumably for a manicure, while a TV camera crew tracked fellow 'leprechaun' Sean O'Brien to a hairdressing salon.
The crew were the boys from 'Crowd Goes Wild', a 'Republic Of Telly'-style irreverent sports show with the same levels of self-professed gas-crackery.
Their intrepid reporter Hayley was charged with the task of 'stalking' the Irish but failed to recognise their best-known player, who was out for an afternoon stroll -- leading to an interesting, if brief, exchange.
"Are you from Ireland?" she asked the Ireland captain.
"You're not Brian O'Driscoll are you?"
"Oh look, there's my bus," said O'Driscoll, swiftly crossing the road.
And if you are disappointed with what is passing for summer at home, wait till you hear this.
The Canterbury region on South Island is experiencing blizzard-like weather, with Christchurch, where Ireland play the second Test, under a blanket of snow. In Auckland, it was wind and rain again yesterday, predicted to continue until Saturday's Test.