James recalls his debut in the green jersey here, "It was a dream come true to get a taste of what international rugby is like. To be the first Ballincollig RFC player to be capped was an honour and the messages of support sent home and given to my mother when she met people on the street were very humbling. Hopefully it's just a start and the goal now is to kick on and get more caps.
"Just to be on the tour was a great experience, and the amount I learnt in those two weeks was massive. When you train and play alongside the best players in the country you can only progress and I will be a better player for the experience. That said we have a really good set up here in Munster and what you cannot do is rest on your laurels. While I obviously took some confidence from my Irish experience there are a lot of good young guys coming through the system here, fellas who are driven and chomping at the bit so that keeps me focused on what I need to do in Munster first and foremost."
With a new European competition (Champions Cup) placing greater importance on the GUINNESS PRO12 results, and coupled with his own Irish ambitions, it's shaping up to be an important season for the Ballincollig native.
"People talk about second season syndrome and that's one thing I plan on avoiding. The new European qualification system makes no difference to our preparation because we go out to win every single game we play in and nothing will change this year."
Finally, how has James found the first week back?
"To be honest every first week of pre-season is dreaded and filled with a lot of drool too as fellas are pushed hard. This week has been very tough and you can never really prepare yourself properly until you have that first week down. Once you're through it you can kick on from there."
James lines up alongside former Munster scrum-half Eoin Reddan and Leinster's Rhys Ruddock before making his Irish debut against Argentina in June.