A three-week series starting this afternoon against England in Belfield, and then featuring Canada and New Zealand over the next two weekends, is like taking the toughest World Cup pool imaginable and dropping it into November. So Ireland's women will have their hands full.
In camp Ireland, you rarely hear anyone allowing their thoughts to stray beyond the next game, so it was unusual yesterday to hear forwards coach Simon Easterby speak frequently about the place of the summer tour of South Africa in the context of the World Cup cycle.
Les Kiss may be just three days into his new role as Ulster's director of rugby but the grimace on his face as soon as he is asked about Ireland's World Cup campaign tells you everything you need to know about a coach who prides himself on attention to detail.
On the face of it, 16 minutes of game-time in Ireland's five games at the World Cup wouldn't appear to amount to very much but Tadhg Furlong's surprise inclusion in the original 31-man squad was always made with a view to what is coming further down the line.
Along with two touch judges, Ruan Pienaar will be the closest thing to an Irish presence on semi-final weekend and even then his chances of featuring against the All Blacks probably depend on the fitness of Springbok captain Fourie du Preez.
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