Thursday is a travel day as the Ireland camp pack up in Buenos Aires and head up to Corrientes, just across the Parana River from Resistencia where they will play the first Test against Argentina on Saturday.
Day 5 – Team Announcement And Travel Day
The day starts early for the guys who are not playing at the weekend. They head to the gym to get some work done at 7am.
Joe Schmidt meets with the travelling media before we leave the hotel and names the team to play in the first test which includes one new cap in the starting line-up – Robbie Diack.
Today we travel to Corrientes, flying into Resistencia and then a bus, complete with armed escort across the river.
There is a lot of logistical planning involved and Gerard Carmody and Sinead Bennett from the team services division have their work cut out for them making sure everything and everyone makes the flight. Negotiation skills to the fore!
A lot of this is done late the night before, including the daily itinerary which details the entire plan of the day – even the dress code. As you can see from Jamie Heaslip’s Twitter page, it was a pink day for the squad!
There’s a lot of moving for bagman Willie Bennett who has over 60 gear bags, medical equipment, tackle shields and much more to get on and off the flight.
The drive from the airport through Chaco to Corrientes is an eye opener as we are in one of the poorest provinces in Argentina.
We have to cross the Parana River, the second longest river in South America. The General Belgrano Bridge which links Resistencia on one side and Corrientes on the other is 1,700 metres long.
First port of call for the players is the dining room – lunch was at 11am this morning so it is time to load up again. It takes a serious amount of food to keep these guys in top shape.
Kicking coach Richie Murphy and Jonathan Sexton are barely checked in before they head off to a local club. It doesn’t go unnoticed by the Aranduroga Rugby Twitter account!
There are media interviews for Jordi Murphy, Rory Best, Luke Marshall, Felix Jones and Ian Madigan with the travelling rugby journos, many of whom were on the same flight up from Buenos Aires.
Tonight is ‘cinema night’ and the pressure is on Dave Kilcoyne to find the local cinema and get a listing of available movies up in the team room.
Of course there’s always a chance that Mike Ross can rig up the system to show the latest ‘Game of Thrones’ episodes on the TV. It’s a show that has proved popular with most of the lads.