The 22-year old may have missed out on the Lions this time round but he said that this summer tour to New Jersey and Japan has been an “incredible experience.”
He smiled: “I’d never been to New York or Tokyo before. Whatever about the States which we’d all be a little bit familiar with I hadn’t an excuse to get out to this side of the world so adapting to the culture and even preparing for the opposition we’re playing — it’s all a big learning curve for everyone, coupled with a lot of new faces getting new caps over the last few weeks.”
He should be back here in two years for the 2019 World Cup and has found this tour beneficial in terms of getting to know the people and the culture.
“They’re incredibly respectful to each other, even greeting, being polite and smiling is all… whether it’s a binman or even the owner of the hotel they all treat each other the same.
“It’s incredibly tidy everywhere. I haven’t seen a scrap of dirt. It is a lot more cleancut than Dublin.
“That and the way the Japanese play — I think because they’re quite close to NZ certainly a lot of their playing style is adapted, in my opinion anyway, from the way the All Blacks play. They’re incredibly dangerous and I think they showed that in the last 20 minutes last Saturday.
“I can imagine they’ll be looking forward to playing on Saturday. I think they would have been slightly disappointed in some of the areas and how they delivered in the first game.
“Looking at the analysis of their players — individually how strong they are and then collectively how strong they can be I think they’ll be coming out all guns blazing.”
He scored his third Irish try last week in the 50-22 win over Japan, and a week earlier landed a touchline conversion from the left in the win over the USA. It was another illustration of the range of skills he possesses.
“I kicked a bit in school, and then I was focusing a lot of my time into areas I can improve on, relevant to the 13 position. With Leinster I keep ticking away on general skills like that — there are so many world class kickers at Leinster I haven’t been needed to kick. But Rory Scannell was on the bench and Joey (Carbery) picked up a knock, so I was next in line because with Joe there’s rarely a stone left unturned and he needs everyone to be ready for any sort of circumstance.”
R Noguchi; A Yamada, K Matsushima, Y Tamura, K Fukuoka; J Ogura, Y Nagare; K Inagaki,Y Niwai, T Asahara; L Thompson, U Helu; M Leitch, S Matsuhashi, A Mafi.
S Horie, K Inagaki, T Watanabe, K Yatabe, Y Tokanuga, F Tanaka, R Matsuda, R Yamanaka.
A Conway; K Earls, G Ringrose, L Marshall, J Stockdale; P Jackson, K Marmion; C Healy, J Tracy, John Ryan; K Treadwell, D Toner; R Ruddock, J van der Flier, J Conan.
N Scannell, D Kilcoyne, A Porter, James Ryan, S Reidy, J Cooney, R Scannell, T O’Halloran.