Ireland's Strength & Conditioning coach on the regeneration plan that has aided our recent success
A lot of thought and planning goes into getting as many players possible right and ready.
The idea is for Ireland's best players to peak at the perfect time, and to prevent them getting "goosed".
Jason Cowman, Ireland's Strength & Conditioning coach, held a media briefing at the Aviva Stadium on Monday morning. The presentation was all about Ireland's Player Management Plan and there was time for a Q&A after.
Cowman pointed out that the IRFU have around 160 senior pros to be dealing with, and monitoring, over the course of a season and up to 40 of them could be injured at one time. Sometimes more; sometimes less.
Making sure the players get a sufficient break, or two, during the season as they are often drafted back into action by their provinces by week two or three of the Guinness PRO14 season.
Ireland's Player Management Plan is often lauded, and with good reason, but there are several times a season when tough calls need to be made. That could include a senior Ireland international, who is perfectly fit, being rested for a fortnight during the season. Cowman commented:
"In the provincial programme, there are three two-week periods where the player is off. They don't have a game.
"Those two weeks are big regeneration periods for them. What we normally have during the season - having been at Leinster and seen what they do - they have a week of strength and conditioning and then they have a week off completely. They go on holidays or something.
"They do that three times during the year. Internationals don't get those windows. They don't get those natural regeneration windows during the season, we we have to fabricate them. We have to give them something that we find is similar.
"They actually don't get same breaks or the same amount of pre-season, so it is basic sums. They get a four-week extended period (of holidays/rest) at the end of the season and then they come in to play in round two (of the PRO14). By right, they should be playing in round four.
"Basic sums tells you they should come in week two or three and they'll all be playing by week four. They get a shorter period of rest and don't get those three two-week breaks during the season. They have two weeks off during the Six Nations but they're goosed. Two Test matches in a row and they're shot by week three (of the competition).
"That is why we dump in a week of regeneration after the November Series and a week after the Six Nations, when their workload has been significant and they've been in high stress situations."
So that might mean you don't get to see the Irish stars in the weeks after international windows but it is perfectly understandable.
"They're still chasing rest," he says and he makes it seem like an exhaustive process.