Andy Farrell advises Ronan Kelleher and others to stay alert for Lions
"He certainly wasn't frustrated. He was delighted with himself."
Ronan Kelleher will have returned from his two week stints with the British & Irish Lions determined to get back with the big boys some day.
That day may yet come again before the summer is out. The Lions have three fit hookers, at present, but Kelleher could yet feature in South Africa before the tour is out.
The Leinster hooker scored four tries in his hour-long outing against the USA, on Saturday, and emulated the great Keith Wood with the feat. Following Ireland's 71-10 win over the Americans, both James Ryan and Andy Farrell talked up Kelleher. Asked if the 23-year-old would have been frustrated to come ashore with more tries up for grabs, Farrell said Dave Heffernan had merited his run-out.
Indeed, Farrell noted that the likes of Kelleher, Ryan and Josh van der Flier would be best advised not to go into full-on holiday mode just yet.
"100%, that would be my advice to them [to keep training]," said Farrell.
"The lads that have had a letter - the group of 50, who I'm not fully aware of - and I'm sure they'd be next cabs off the rank.
"If I was the likes of Josh and even Caelan Doris, coming back fit now and having a couple of games under his belt, I'd certainly be looking after myself.
"Look, these guys, whether it is in off- or pre-season, whatever it is, they've always got to stay in shape."
Farrell himself may yet travel to South Africa to link up with the Lions and provide an extra coaching hand on deck for the Test Series with the Springboks.
On Saturday night, at least, he was not in a position to confirm any such brief. "I think I've mentioned this many times," he commented, "that I'd be their number one fan, watching from home."
Earlier in the day, the Lions squad added a 38th player as Harlequins and England outhalf Marcus Smith was called up. Smith is set to feature in one of the next two warm-up games after Finn Russell aggravated an Achilles injury.
LISTEN TO HOUSE OF RUGBY'S LIONS SERIES: EPISODE 3