He may have flown in from Chicago at 7.0am on Monday following enough in-flight turbulence to keep players unsettled, but Garry Ringrose hopes to be one of Joe Schmidt's settled selections for Ireland's second autumn Test against Argentina on Saturday evening.
“Obviously you want to be out there and play. Any player wants that. It will be interesting to see,” said the outside centre, who scored one of Ireland’s eight tries in their 54-7 win over Italy in Soldier Field.
“Yeah, we arrived in there this morning at around 7 o’clock so it’s a challenge in itself to try and turn the page quickly and forget about the week that’s just gone, learn from the game, turn the page and focus on Argentina.”
Argentina are a team Ringrose believes have improved. While they have not been able to perform week in week out and consistently back up performances in the Rugby Championship, they always carry threat.
The South American side won two from six in this year’s Southern Hemisphere competition, beating South Africa 32-19 and also winning against Australia in Brisbane.
Obvious threats such as outhalf Nicolas Sanchez and their relatively new wingers Matias Moroni and Bautista Delguy have been at the forefront of Argentina's wins.
“It was obviously a tough introduction when they first came in but I think you see year on year improvements and they keep bettering themselves with the type of rugby they are playing and the games are getting closer,” said Ringrose.
“They’re a team that certainly are battling amongst the top teams in the world. It can be tough to back up week on week against the opposition they are playing.
“But no one in our camp and no one in world rugby underestimates the quality they have, individually and collectively.”
With Ringrose, Robbie Henshaw and Bundee Aki vying for starting positions, Schmidt will have to make hard choices. A secondrow with Tadhg Beirne, Iain Henderson, James Ryan and Devin Toner might be a more difficult discussion, but the selection headaches are a growing watermark of Ireland's depth.
Ringrose also arrives back at base with a mix of satisfaction but some lessons learned too. Despite the landslide 50-point win he is not inclined to get carried away.
“We took a few lessons from the first half,” explained Ringrose. “We probably didn’t play at the tempo we wanted to and that’s in our control, how quickly we can speed the game up.
“That’s what we tried to do in the second half, which certainly helped in the first 20 minutes of that second half, getting those couple of tries that inevitably won us the game and allowed us to kick on in the way we did.”
Importantly Ringrose had pitch time with Aki to further build a playing relationship. It was the Connacht centre who put Ringrose through for his second-half try, Ringrose running an intelligent line off Aki’s right shoulder.
“It’s great to get a chance to play with him,” he said. “I’ve played a couple of times with him now and obviously he has the physical aspect to his game but he’s a brilliant footballer so he’s good to play outside of.
“He talks well on the pitch so there was a good line of communication there. We didn’t get it right every time but when we did build into our shape, we managed to get a bit of success on the edge once or twice.”