Prop James Cronin, who won his first Ireland cap in the second Test win over Argentina last month, told the Munster Rugby website about his Argentinian experience and the return to pre-season training with Munster.
Having secured a Munster development contract at the start of last season, such was the impressiveness of his form, December saw James Cronin awarded a two-year contract extension that will keep him at the province until at least June 2016.
Closing out the season with 26 appearances for Munster - seven of which were in the Heineken Cup - he did enough to earn inclusion in Ireland's summer tour of Argentina, winning his first cap on June 14 in the 23-17 win over the Pumas.
Reflecting on his debut in the green jersey, Cronin told www.MunsterRugby.ie: "It was a dream come true to get a taste of what international rugby is like. To be the first Ballincollig RFC player to be capped was an honour.
"The messages of support sent home and given to my mother when she met people on the street were very humbling. Hopefully it's just a start and the goal now is to kick on and get more caps.
"Just to be on the tour was a great experience, and the amount I learnt in those two weeks was massive. When you train and play alongside the best players in the country you can only progress and I will be a better player for the experience.
"That said, we have a really good set-up here in Munster and what you cannot do is rest on your laurels.
"While I obviously took some confidence from my Irish experience there are a lot of good young guys coming through the system here, fellas who are driven and champing at the bit so that keeps me focused on what I need to do in Munster first and foremost."
With a new European competition (the Champions Cup) placing greater importance on GUINNESS PRO12 results, and coupled with his own international ambitions, it is shaping up to be an important season for the Ballincollig native.
"People talk about 'second season syndrome' and that's one thing I plan on avoiding. The new European qualification system makes no difference to our preparation because we go out to win every single game we play in and nothing will change this year," explained Cronin.
Finally, how has the 23-year-old front rower found the first week back at training? "To be honest every first week of pre-season is dreaded and filled with a lot of drool too as fellas are pushed hard!
"This week has been very tough and you can never really prepare yourself properly until you have that first week down. Once you're through it you can kick on from there."
There is a lot more than just bragging rights on the line at Thomond Park as despite being nicely positioned in the GUINNESS PRO12 table, third-placed Munster and Connacht, in sixth, both have teams below them ready to pounce if they lose again.
Late tries from Louis Ludik and Paul Marshall secured a 36-17 bonus point victory for Ulster over the plucky Cardiff Blues, as Neil Doak's men cut Glasgow Warriors' lead at the top of the GUINNESS PRO12 to just two points.
Speaking to Rob Murphy after Connacht's PRO12 victory over the Dragons, head coach Pat Lam said: "There are some things to learn from, but we're pleased to start with a win. When you consider nine in that starting group are under 23, it's good to see some of those talented guys get a chance - particularly the new ones."
Irish Rugby TV ventured west to cover the launch of Mazda's continued support of Connacht Rugby. We hear from new arrival and Mazda Ambassador Mils Muliaina, Kieran Marmion, Jake Heenan and former captain Gavin Duffy.
Looking forward to the new GUINNESS PRO12 season, Connacht captain John Muldoon said: "We've a lot of younger guys who have big years ahead of them and a few big name signings who will hopefully be able to fit into the system and work hard among the ethos of Connacht Rugby."
Irish Rugby TV was at the launch of the GUINNESS PRO12 and we caught up with Jamie Heaslip, Pat Lam, John Muldoon, Matt O'Connor and Rory Sheridan of Diageo as the new sponsor gets ready to kick off an exciting season.
Speaking during Connacht's training trip to Ballinrobe RFC, captain John Muldoon said: "It's great to see the jerseys and the people coming out to support us today. Long may it continue because we're not a Galway team, we're a Connacht team and that's what we want to push and that's why we come out on these days out."
Young hooker David Heffernan, who extended his current deal with Connacht in April, enjoyed a trip back to his native Mayo as Pat Lam's men held an open training session at Ballinrobe RFC earlier this week.
Rob Murphy caught up with Connacht head coach Pat Lam after their bonus point win at home to Benetton Treviso. The westerners have been in resurgent form of late, picking up three straight league victories and 14 points from a possible 15.