House of Rugby: Jack Conan on GAA-mad upbringing, zoo escapes and CJ Stander
"We had pieces of paper slid under the door, saying, 'Be careful. Wild animals on the loose'."
As Ireland tours go, the 2015 Tbilisi Cup was certainly memorable for those involved. Jack Conan was a late call-up to the Emerging Ireland squad, along with Andrew Browne and he featured in all three games of their victorious campaign.
For Conan, there was almost as much excitement off the pitch after the local zoo in Tbilisi had a mass escape of animals:
"The second or third day, there was heavy rainfall and the local zoo flooded, and all the animals escaped... there were hippos and alligators roaming the streets!"
Conan was joined in that squad by a host of young players that would go on to play Test rugby for Ireland, such as Dan Leavy, John Cooney, Luke McGrath and Andrew Conway. The Leinster back-row made his senior Ireland debut, against Scotland, just two months later but he missed out on Ireland's World Cup squad.
Barring injuries, Conan is a shoe-in for Ireland's 2019 World Cup squad and he is pushing hard to start in that No.8 jersey. The 27-year-old dropped into the House of Rugby studio for a wide-ranging chat that included his love for GAA, comparisons with CJ Stander and hopefully making that flight to Japan next month.
You can watch the full interview here:
The latest episodes sees Andrew Trimble and Jerry Flannery looking ahead to the slate of warm-up games and Jack Conan drop in for a chat.