Hi, my name is Damien Blanch. I am hoping to give you a player’s insight into what we do in our camp on a day to day, in preparation for our first World Cup game against Fiji, and beyond.
We've had a few training sessions in the weeks leading up to 18 October, which was our first official day in camp. It was great to get here to the Marriott hotel in Preston and see all the boys and meet our coaching and medical staff.
The basic plan for the first few days was to get as much training and information on board as possible.
As we haven't been together before as a full team, we have a lot to learn about each other, game plans, structures etc. So our first three days of our schedule were as follows:
10-12pm Field Session (Defence Based)
12-12:30pm Pool session
4-6pm Training (Attack based)
As you can see for the first few days, there wasn’t much down time!
Now we have eased it back somewhat and started to prepare for our game with Fiji.
The Fijians are going to be a tough team, especially the back line including the likes of Uate, Millard, Naiqama and being led by Civoniceva, there is no doubt we have a big task on our hands.
In saying that, with the qualities in our squad, I am more than confident we can win this game. We have a great combination of experience, youth, skill and toughness.
There are some great playmakers in the Ireland team with Liam Finn and Scott Grix at the back, strike players like Pat Richards and Rory Kostjasyn along with a great forward pack being led by Brett White.
We also have some young, enthusiastic future stars such as Ben Currie and James Mendeika, and I believe we can beat Fiji and progress through the pool stages.
Personally I am more than excited for this tournament. It will be my last few games after nearly 10 years in Europe, and I am lucky enough to be able to finish my UK career on the big stage in the World Cup.
We will be doing our best and wear the Ireland jersey with immense pride.
My next player diary will be after our match versus Fiji and in preparation for our big showdown with England.