10 Dec, 12:23
Ireland's John Lacey will referee his first ever RBS 6 Nations match in February, while Alain Rolland is also included in the Elite Panel in what is his last season.
Capbreton, which is approximately 50 kilometres from Biarritz, will allow the Ireland squad to step up their training programme ahead of the World Cup in conditions that will be similar to those they will experience during the tournament.
Upon arrival, the squad were greeted by temperatures in the mid 20s and, for the first time, a dry environment away from the unseasonable wet Irish summer. The players will undergo a rehab session this morning in the Cap Club Hotel and will then train in the afternoon at the Parc des Sport which is two kilometres from the team hotel.
The arrival of the squad in Capbreton also gave players the opportunity to reflect on their selection for the Rugby World Cup.
Back rower Stephen Ferris said: "Along with winning my first cap, my selection in the 30-man squad is the high point of my career to date. The last 18 months have all been an exciting time for me from playing regularly for Ulster, winning my first cap last November and touring Argentina. A World Cup is the pinnacle for international rugby and I would never have thought before this season that I would be in this position.
"The competition in the back row for Ireland is incredible when you think of the great players that did not make the squad. While I am over the moon at getting the nod, it is up to me now to continue the hard work and keep that competition going from this point and on into the tournament," he added.
"When I knew I had made the squad, the first person I talked to was my mum and the rest of the family. Needless to say they were delighted at the news."
Another back rower named in the squad and one who carries a wealth of experience at this level is Alan Quinlan. "There have been some anxious moments over the last couple of weeks, but I was delighted to hear the news that I had made the squad," Quinlan admitted.
"I suppose I have not had an awful amount of luck over the last four years of my career, but I have worked hard over the last number of months to get myself in good shape and feel the best I have in pre-season in a long time.
"The tour of Argentina was really important for me as Eddie (O'Sullivan) and Niall (O'Donovan) told us all that those games were our opportunity to shine and I felt that I had a good tour. I really feel for the lads who did not make the final 30 and when you see how competitive it is in the forwards and back row especially, it must have been a close call.
"Playing in what will be my third Rugby World Cup is something that I was afraid would pass me by, but, as I said, I am delighted to be given the chance to add something to the squad for the tournament," added the Munster man.
In addition to Rugby World Cup debutant Ferris, there are also other players who have been selected for the tournament for the first time, including Connacht's Gavin Duffy.
"Coming back to Connacht was a key decision for me as my opportunities with Harlequins were limited. Coming back home gave me more game-time and so allowed me to continue to develop my game, but more importantly this put me back on the radar of the national management," explained the Ballina native.
"Hopefully my versatility will also be an added bonus for Eddie and Niall and to be honest I would have been happy playing anywhere to get this chance to be part of a Rugby World Cup.
"The spirit in the camp has been excellent and hopefully this week we can look at the Scotland game to try and get some things right from that. There is still a long way to go with some hard work for us this week, but I am just happy at this point to have made the final cut."
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