The Ireland Under-20s are in Japan for the Junior World Championship. Hooker Tom Sexton will be keeping us up to speed on life in camp, rugby in Japan and the tournament as a whole with his Japan blog. In his first entry, Tom brings us up to date with the trip over and settling in to life in camp in Nagoya.
We all assembled on Saturday morning for an 8am training session in Malahide Rugby Club, with some fresh faces added to the Six Nations squad. Worst haircut of the morning went to Andrew Burke (Ratser), who evidently has still failed to sort it out after three days in Japan.
The session went well, building on our great performance against Scotland the week before in our warm-up game – we beat them 47-7 after three 30-minute periods at Greenock.
It was good to see all the lads and there was great buzz around the squad with the excitement of a trip to a place like Japan.
We all went out for dinner that night in Malahide, the meal was substantial to say least! Let’s just say I’m glad I wasn’t picking up the bill!
Early the next morning (7.15am) we had a light run-out in Malahide before making our way to the airport.
The management team had us on a body clock management programme to minimise the effects of jet lag, hence the reason for the early start.
We flew first to London Heathrow and made our way to another terminal for the connecting flight to Tokyo. This flight was 12 hours in duration, for many this was the longest flight they had ever experienced and thus was physically and mentally draining.
Mark Flanagan was particularly disappointed to learn that our plane from Dublin to London (propellers and all!) did not go all the way to Tokyo!
Many of the lads, myself included, enjoyed a well-earned sleep on the floor of Tokyo Airport on arrival.
At Nagoya Airport we boarded the coach to our hotel and we were greeted by a massive welcoming party, you would have thought that after seeing Dave Kearney (brother of Rob) that we were the British & Irish Lions!
The hotel is amazing, 30 stories high and the first thing that struck me was the view from my hotel room. It is spectacular!
The one confusing thing for the squad is the elevators in the hotel. Being on the 26th floor looking to go to the 27th, you often find yourself back on the ground floor before you reach the one you want.
A few of us seem to be missing home already, especially ‘Keats’ (Michael Keating) whose girlfriend is sitting the Leaving Cert back in Dublin.
We have done a lot of preparation for the game against Argentina on Friday and the guys are really starting get up for it.
We know it will be an immensely physical encounter but one that we are more than ready for!
More to come…
Tom Sexton (Chunks)