Friday 27 January 2023 Dublin: 5°C
INPHO/Dan Sheridan Shane Jennings and Tony Buckley in training this week.
# In camp
Shane Jennings' World Cup diary: week 4
“Tony Buckley was mad to go pig hunting or deer hunting or something but there wasn’t any takers” – Jenno on life in camp this week.

WELL HERE WE go again.

The first half of the Italy game was very tense, wasn’t it? And I think that tension was reflected in a very cagey performance.

We knew these Italian lads needed be cracked open and the boys did that in the second half, it opened up then and the tries arrived.

I thought it was a really excellent performance to be honest – they played very, very well.

The win undoubtedly relaxed everyone in the camp. We knew we’d achieved our first goal and we’d be together in New Zealand for at least another week. Hopefully it’ll be more.

We came up along to Wellington then on Monday which was a travel day. It’s been lashing raining since we arrived.

We had a day off today and lads just did their own thing. Tony Buckley was mad to go pig hunting or deer hunting or something but there weren’t any takers.

Besides the attraction of shooting wild animals, I think after so much time in each other’s pockets, we all were relatively keen to get out and about and do our own thing.

My own girlfriend is around now so we went for a meal tonight and there’s a lot of the boys’ wives, girlfriends and families here for the game so it gives us the opportunity to get away from the whole camp life for a little bit which is no harm.

Back to the drawing board

We’ve been working hard all week. As soon as the game with Italy finished, focus turned to Wales and we’ve done our homework and prep.

We’ve replicated their moves and the way they play all week in training, and the video analysis has been excellent so I reckon we have a pretty good general idea of how we want to go about this game. Tomorrow will be good to do as we wrap it all up and tune in for the kick off.

Everyone realises what’s at stake.

This week too has brought some good news with Rory Best being included in the team after a fitness test. There was a few of us involved in putting him through his paces, rucking and tackling and that, and it’s great that it looks like he’s good to go.

The atmosphere in the camp is as fun as ever. Fergus wrote about himself and Sean Cronin getting kicked off the bus in the rain – and Cronin has been getting the brunt of it really.

They had to walk to the hotel because the lads thought they’d fail to fulfil their allotted jobs – and I’ve been fined a few times myself.

I’m on the coffee shop committee, which means I have to let the lads know about all the cafes in the area. Even though I’ve been printing off maps and writing names on the board in the team room, I’ve found myself on the wrong side of the mob too.

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The next scene

I’ve been in with Paddy Wallace this week again in the room and it’s happy days. We’re well used to each other at this stage.

I was keeping myself occupied by reading Engage, the book by Matt Hampson who is now paralysed from the neck down after a collapsed scrum. It’s an inspirational story but it freaked me out a bit so I put it on the shelf until after the tournament.

In the meantime, I’ve started a book I picked up in that flea market I mentioned in Auckland. We met a guy who was in one of the gangs but has turned himself around and wrote a book about his life. So I bought that off him and I’m getting stuck into it now.

So, this evening, it’s movie night. Donnchadh Ryan is the man responsible for the films and he’s got the ice-cream and popcorn in and it’s Last of the Mohicans on the projector I believe.

Tomorrow it’s back to work.

The Happy Camper: watch out Wellington, here comes the cavalry

FAQ: Who’ll win in Wellington on Saturday?

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