Hugo Keenan met his girlfriend on Saturday morning, and she thought he was unwell.
Proof of his well-being came with how he played over 80 minutes against the world champions later that night, but he admitted that he has rarely felt so nervous before a game as he did ahead of that epic encounter with South Africa.
His story is a fair indication of what the Ireland players put in to that match – and why the coming 10 days before they face Scotland are so important, too.
‘God, I was nervous this week,’ Keenan reflected. ‘I met my girlfriend briefly this morning and she thought I looked sick.
‘I felt good once I got out there, but it’s a pressure environment. Stade de France hasn’t been kind to us in the past; there’s a pressure lurking there and we were keen, personally and as a team, from that loss to France two years ago, to learn from that.’
And the learning goes on. The players return to their base in
Tours tonight with preparations for Scotland resuming in earnest tomorrow.
It’s believed a significant number were happy to spend their break near their base, within a city that they have come to love over the past month.
An update on Ireland’s medical concerns is likely tomorrow but it is expected to be brief. Garry Ringrose looked the most beatenup after a couple of thundering collisions, but Andy Farrell was confident after the match that there had been no new injury worries.
That means the returning Jack Conan could be the only player with a question mark over his potential involvement against the Scots on Saturday week, but there has been quiet confidence in recent days that he will be available for selection.
To come through three Test matches in two weeks without losing a player to injury is surprising; to do so after one of the games was as brutally intense as the one against the Springboks is extraordinary.
This is partly down to conditioning; an Ireland team has never looked as fit as this one, with Bundee Aki the most vivid example of that.
It’s partly chance, too. As the injury to Antoine Dupont showed, a player can be in the form and fitness of his life, but there is no accounting for the recklessness of someone on the other side.
Presuming Farrell’s squad is fully fit, then it raises the prospect of some changes for the Scotland game. But with the coach appearing to be committed to playing his best team at every opportunity, they could be limited to introducing proven starters like Robbie Henshaw and Conan, with Dan Sheehan in line to begin, too.
The possibility of rotation is remote to the point of non-existent, however.
Farrell took a risk in picking his best team for the game against Tonga, just seven days before the South Africa challenge, and was repaid with the best result of his tenure. And the players talk as if attuned to the same relentless ambition: they don’t want to stop.
‘We have (time) off but it’s not like we’re going drinking beer for three days, you know,’ was Tadhg Beirne’s take.
‘We’re going to enjoy some time with our families, our partners, which is massively important. You’re away for a very, very long time (at the World Cup) and just to get that time with your partners is huge.
‘We might go out for a few meals but, overall, it’s mainly about recovery, and focus will go to Scotland come Wednesday when we meet back up.’
That’s why concerns about a wandering focus seem misplaced. Given the unerring attention to the next task that has characterised Farrell’s tenure thus far, there is no reason to suppose they will get ahead of themselves now.
Attempts in the Scottish camp to imply they have been overlooked in all this are not very convincing.
‘We were almost being forgotten about,’ complained their winger, Darcy Graham, before he talked about playing Ireland despite Scotland first having to overcome the admittedly low-lying hurdle posed by Romania.
The reality is that any attempt to accuse Ireland of counting their chickens will go as unheeded within the camp as the Bomb Squad frenzy did.
This is a group at ease with itself, sure of its ambitions. If this Irish team fail, complacency won’t be the reason.
Gregor Townsend may well have a plan for unhinging the superb Irish defence, and for unsettling an accurate, economical attack.
But dreams of Scottish success will not be made flesh thanks to Irish arrogance.
The players may have enjoyed the incomparable glories of France this week, but it’s been Scotland on their minds.