'When I hang up the rugby boots, I'll probably go back and play GAA' 2 months ago

'When I hang up the rugby boots, I'll probably go back and play GAA'

"It's nice to get out of camp for a bit. Things are coming to a crescendo and it's almost time to get down to business."

For a lad that is on the brink of his first World Cup, Jack Conan is incredibly relaxed (on the outside, at least).

The Leinster back row made his Ireland debut in their final World Cup warm-up game, in 2015, but the tournament came a little too soon. He missed out on Joe Schmidt's squad back then and did not feature again for Ireland until 2017. He scored three tries in three summer tour games against the USA and Japan and has been in and around the squad since then.

Conan has earned 14 Test caps now and featured three times in the recent Six Nations. Renowned as a No.8 for province and country, he is capable of holding down every back row position. Talk to him about going head-to-head with CJ Stander for an Ireland jersey and he'll remind you that himself and Stander started a hard-fought win over Australia in Sydney.

Wednesday was a down day for the players in Schmidt's 44-man camp, out at Carton House, and Conan spun into his native city to help promote Dublin City Sportsfest, a week-long celebration of sport and physical activity taking place from September 23 to 29.

Conan played a host of sports, growing up, and he told Baz & Andrew's House of Rugby that he intends to reconnect with his GAA roots when he finishes up his professional rugby career.

"Gaelic would have been my first love. I played Gaelic for years.

"I see myself, when I hang up the rugby boots, I'll probably go back and play with Kilmac [Kilmacanogue]. My older brother would have been captain of the men's senior team and I started off there when I was about six or seven. I played all the way ip until I was about 17 until the rugby came in and would have taken over a bit."

Swimming, tennis, football, and whatever you were having yourself. It was the sort of sports-mad upbringing most parents would yearn for their child to have, even if it did mean playing taxi driver to half the neighbourhood.

"My poor old mother," he remarks, "was busy enough ferrying people around wicklow on Thursday evening, to all sorts of events and games."

A a jack of all trades, and master of a few, Sportsfest is something Conan is heartily endorsing. He is hoping to be out of the country when it is all happening, as Ireland's World Cup campaign will getting underway [Scotland first and then hosts Japan]. He is looking good to make that squad but will still be hoping to avoid Joe Schmidt's name popping up on his phone.

"If I see my phone ringing I'll be exhaling slowly and telling myself, 'Okay, right, you'll probably have to go and answer this!'"

*The full Jack Conan interview will be available on Baz & Andrew's House of Rugby soon.

“Jack Conan was speaking at the launch of the #ThisIsMyDublin campaign promoting Dublin City Sportsfest 2019. Sportsfest is a week-long celebration of sport & physical activity from 23-29 of September. Everyone is encouraged participate regardless of age, ability or background. For more information visit www.dublincity.ie/sportsfest

Sounds like a great week of sporting activities.