Back-row Jack Conan has admitted that he struggled to come to terms with Ireland’s Rugby World Cup elimination.
Andy Farrell’s men were ousted from the global tournament after they went down 28-24 to the All Blacks in the quarter-finals.
That disappointment duly lingered for Conan, who had to wait over a month before playing his first game since that loss.
“The first week at home (after France) was miserable, absolutely miserable,” Conan told reporters.
“We came back, it was lashing rain, horrible. You go from being around the lads 24/7, having unbelievable craic to being back on a Monday and you wake up on Tuesday.
“My wife had gone to work and then you’re all alone. You are by yourself and it’s so strange to not be in that environment anymore.
“The only way to fix it is get back among the lads and I’m lucky that so many lads live around and you are able to share that misery and pick it apart and spend time in each other’s company.”
Conan gradually got himself back on track and returned to training after taking a holiday in Dubai.
“The only real fix is to get back into the environment, playing, back in blue and enjoying your work,” he said.
“The first week was brutally tough. Then we got away for a week to Dubai in the sun. A few of the lads were out there as well. It was nice to spend a bit of time with them again.
“It was tough at the start and then you kind of normalise with the standard of life back home, it helps sooth the pain a little bit.”
Facing his Ireland team-mates
The Ireland players spent several months in camp before and during the World Cup, forging even stronger relationships than they had already.
However, friendship turned to inter-provincial rivalry at the weekend when Leinster and Munster went head-to-head at the Aviva Stadium.
“Myself and (Munster’s) Tadhg Beirne sat on the bus every single day (at the World Cup), every trip, and then you go from being really close and spending so much time together to trying to take each other’s head off and whack each other,” Conan added.
“But then you have a bit of a laugh at the bottom of the ruck, so there’s never any nastiness.”