Garry Ringrose is still sporting a bandage to cover the head injury he picked up in Japan but a hat-trick of tries in this bonus-point Heineken Champions Cup win in Dublin suggests that there is no lingering hangover from Ireland's dismal World Cup showing.
It would be fair to say that as anti-climatic and disappointing as last Saturday in the Aviva was, it hardly constituted the sort of crisis and crossroads Irish rugby was looking at the last time we played and lost an opening Six Nations game to England, writes
"I know I’m from Dublin, but I’ve lived here for the last eight years, and with my fiancée Lisa and daughter Beth born here, I know we will be back again. I’m from Munster and I’m a Limerick man now, and it holds a special place in my heart."
Mike Haley has a debt of gratitude to Danny Cipriani for the mentoring he provided the full-back as a young professional in the Sale Sharks academy. Now on opposing teams, the Munster full-back knows just how dangerous he will be for Gloucester at Kingsholm tomorrow night, should the fly-half pass a fitness test today.
Joe Schmidt described choosing the 32 players he will take to Australia next month as the most difficult process of his tenure as Ireland head coach but it is clear he has selected a squad with a series victory over the Wallabies at the top of his priority list.
In the raw aftermath of a second successive European semi-final defeat, there was very little a Munster captain could say to put a positive spin on yet another bitterly disappointing visit to the Champions Cup last four.
Conor Murray’s reputation as the leading scrum-half in the Northern Hemisphere, if not the world, will mean the Munster star can expect a lot of attention from Racing 92’s forwards in Bordeaux tomorrow but Johann van Graan says his number nine will not be fazed.
There was a carnival atmosphere at Outeniqua Park on Saturday and while it seemed for a time that the Southern Kings were going to spoil CJ Stander’s homecoming, Munster’s superiority shone through in the end as they cantered home.