Enda Smith reveals the depth of his despair during sickness
IT was the dream that almost turned to the complete nightmare for Enda Smith.
They were no sooner in Australia than he and Niall Murphy picked up the worst of the vomiting bug that did the rounds on the squad during their week in Melbourne and Adelaide.
Speaking after Saturday’s second test defeat in Perth, he revealed that the only time he’d been out of his hotel room for five days was when the others were training or to fly to the west coast.
“Last week was a complete disaster really. I didn’t feel myself at all, I was in bad nick for 5 or 6 days and was nowhere near to getting playing.
“This week I got a bit of training Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday to try and build up a bit of energy and stamina to get involved today. I’m happy to be involved today but obviously disappointed, personally and from the team’s perspective. I thought we had them coming in at half-time.”
“I was stuck to the hotel room in Adelaide, just in the bedroom on my own. When the boys went training I might have gone down for an hour, but I didn’t really leave the hotel. I was stuck in it for five days, didn’t move, in and out of the bed. Australia was the last place I wanted to be, to be honest.
“We flew to Perth on Monday and I wasn’t sure how the flight would go, but I got through it ok. Monday night then I ate my first bit of food I’d had since Wednesday. I went into training on Tuesday very low on energy, but I trained, which was a massive thing to sweat a bit of it out of me. Monday night, Tuesday morning was when I started to come around, eating regularly and wasn’t sick.”
In that context, that he was on the field at all was something nearly remarkable. And he did manage to make an impact around the middle in flashes.
Ireland played better on the whole in the second test than they had in the first, and Smith put it down to their attitude from the get-go.
“Yeah, we started the game really well, really aggressively and in their face. We made them make a lot of mistakes. That was what we set out to do. Up until half-time there was a good bite in us.
“The third quarter then, the Aussies really do like to stamp their mark. They think they can get a lead on us with their physique and fitness, but it was kind of nip and tuck.
“The fourth quarter, the small little mistakes started creeping into our game – getting blocked on marks and things. Our skills that we should be good at let us down a little bit.”