Just glad to be home and looking forward to Christmas and what was that all about more like. After what was a long year they needed the Lanzarote trip according to one player like we needed a hole in the head.
But the demands of the professional era decreed that they (without the Ulster contingent) leave their provincial training camps and head for an all expenses paid winter warm-weather fitness camp, eh without the national fitness trainer Mike McGurn?.
Home again home again clackety clack and now after a short family break (what, you mean pro rugby players have families?) they ll once again linkup with their provincial temmates for uninterrupted preparation for the January Heineken Cup campaign. Well not quite uninterrupted. You see it has emerged that there will be another Team Ireland love-in a week from now.
The national squad will assemble for three days 28th, 29th and 30th December for another how s yer father, and will be back in time to say goodbye to their families before heading off to engage in Celtic League engagements. Oh and then there s the little matter of Heineken Cup games the following week. Not desperately important really.
It just means that Alan Gaffney Gary Ella and Alan Solomons will have perhaps two days with their respective squads to prepare for their matches against Gloucester (away), Sale (home) and Leicester (home). Of the three coaches Gaffney probably has cause to feel the most aggrieved. His side travel to Gloucester while Leinster are home to Sale and Ulster although faced with the formidable Leicester Tigers are at home and suffer the least from national player involvement.
Munster will face Connacht (Dubarry Park) on Friday January 2nd in the Celtic League without having had a squad training session in the week of that game. Unless of course Gaffney now schedules one for New Year s Eve. A week later it's Kingsholm. That means that before they play their most important game of the season (away to Gloucester) 12 of the likely Munster starting XV will have spent more time training with Ireland - for a competition that begins in the middle of February - rather than with Munster.
Makes you wonder what's going on.
(Article courtesy of Tom Parkes).