So after a cruel journey that took almost forty hours the Irish squad arrived in Timaru to prepare for the tour opener on Saturday against a New Zealand Divisional XV. Their base for the next six days is the Grosvenor Hotel on Cairns Terrace in Timaru.
The Hotel itself is interesting from a number of points of view. It was built in October 1875 by a J. Meikle and re-built in 1915 by J.P.Murphy. It overlooks the Port of Timaru and around the corner on Beswick Street is housed the Office of the Inland Revenue. Just across and to the left of the entrance to the hotel is Her Majesty's Custom House, built in 1902 but now the Casa Italia Ristorante and beside that, and in complete contrast, a singularly unimpressive building titled Babettes' advertising itself as a leisure lounge'.
After their arrival the Irish squad made the short coach trip to South Cantebury Rugby Union Ground for a light run-out designed more to combat the rigours of the journey rather than anything else.
Weather conditions were good, with the session conducted in bright sunshine although there was a cold wind blowing from the nearby snow capped Southern Alps.