You could forgive Jordi Murphy for allowing his mind to wonder but the Ulster flanker has to focus on Friday night's Guinness Pro14 clash with the Ospreys, for now.
The 28-year-old had starred for Ireland and Leinster in 2018 but moved north last season to get more regular game time with Sean O'Brien and Dan Leavy ahead of him in the queue.
Prior to that he was also in competition with Jamie Heaslip for a back row place and while Devin Toner's omission from Ireland's World Cup squad made the most headlines, Murphy had grounds to feel hard done by when Jack Conan, Rhys Ruddock and Tadhg Beirne moved ahead in the pecking order.
Murphy is now on standby for Japan and must take out whatever frustration he has built up against the Welsh region on Friday.
"It was a strange feeling watching it," he tells RTÉ Sport after Ireland began their Pool A campaign with a 27-3 win over Scotland.
"Obviously I was supporting the lads 110% but part of you wants to be there. That's the nature of the game, they can only take 31 to a World Cup.
"Unfortunately I fell just short of that. I'd never wish ill upon anyone but I just have to stay ready.
"It's an attritional physical game so I've to stay fit, which I'm doing with Ulster [but] if the phone call comes I'll be ready to go at a second's notice.
"Joe [Schmidt] said just keep the head down and keep working away and that's what I'm doing."
Watching on was hard enough without the back row of CJ Stander, Josh van der Flier and Jack Conan, who replaced Peter O'Mahony after a failed HIA, excelling in defence and attack.
The four made 37 of Ireland's 135 tackles, while Stander got the man of the match nod.
"I thought they were quality," said Murphy, speaking at the Aviva Mini Rugby Nations Cup.
"Pete unfortunately went off early enough but when Jack Conan came on I thought it was seamless.
"He was really really quality with powerful carries and kind of tackled everything in sight.
"I thought CJ some of those kind of bundling runs, he looked quality as well, looked really hungry.
"Josh as well at the breakdown was a menace and got a quality turnover with a few minutes to go when we were down to 14 men [when Tadhg Beirne was sin-binned] as well.
"Those kind of things just really really frustrate the opposition.
"I'm certainly delighted for the boys who put in that kind of performance. It was a great start and a bit of confidence builder."
You can listen to the full Jordi Murphy interview below
Follow Ireland v Japan on Saturday (kick-off 8.15am) via the live blog on RTÉ.ie/Sport and the News Now App, watch live on RTÉ2 from 7.30am or listen to live match commentary on RTÉ Radio 1.