18 May, 11:09
IRFU Chief Executive Philip Browne has issued a statement following confirmation of Ronan O'Gara's decision to retire from playing professional rugby.
The Italian captain Sergio Parisse was at the other end of the table, so we didn't really get a chance to talk during the formal part of the evening.
Everyone was tired but spirits were lifted by the excellent food and conversation flowed - as a result it was one of the more enjoyable post match functions.
Fergus McFadden was called up to receive his cap and I waited until he had just got back to his table to inform him that it is traditional for the debutant to make a speech.
It isn't but he was none the wiser. The joke backfired on me a little because he spoke eloquently, as seems to be the case with the young guys coming through these days.
Given the French match this week there was none of the usual post debut shenanigans that first caps have to endure, although that might change if things go well on Sunday as there is a substantial gap to the next fixture. Fergus might get to enjoy 'the traditional recognition bestowed' for his achievement.
It was impossible to keep the tiredness at bay so at the appropriate time I headed back to the team hotel to catch up on some sleep. Some of the lads went for a walk around town.
Every time I arrive in Rome I vow that I will come back for a long weekend outside the rugby calendar. I still haven't done the tourist thing, but that's something I am determined to change.
There was silence on the bus when we were coming in from the airport as we passed the wonderful buildings and monuments. You see, even the most gnarled rugby players have some culture!
Sunday became something of a long trek home, a door-to-door journey that took from 9.30am to 4.30pm. The consolation was meeting Amy in the airport as coincidentally she was returning from London. We were able to grab the team bus back to Killiney.
I managed to sneak out to my favourite Indian restaurant in Dundrum and then catch the movie, 'The Fighter,' afterwards. I am not a big Christian Bale fan but he was surprisingly good as was the film. It was a lovely way to spend a Sunday evening.
Don't forget you can support Brian and the team and 'BRING BACK THE ROAR' on www.bethedifference.ie.