18 June 2015
London Irish centre, Eoin Griffin finished off a successful first season for the Exiles with selection in the Emerging Ireland squad for the Tbilisi Cup, the only non Irish provincial player to be named in the squad.
The tournament has been marred by devastating floods which tore through the Georgian capital last Saturday evening taking lives and destroying peoples homes. Luckily none of the teams competing in the tournament were affected.
Eoin said: "It took all of us by surprise. We have had people ringing from home to check we were ok, it seemed to be much bigger news back home than it was here for us, probably because our base is away from the affected areas. It is obviously a great tragedy with people losing their lives and all the animals that were on the loose that subsequently got killed too. It was just a freak of nature, we were playing three hours before and the weather was great. When the rain came down in great masses it left a devastating trail of destruction."
The Irish team won their opening two matches with bonus points and, thanks to Emerging Italy's defeat of hosts Georgia on Wednesday night, claimed their first Tbilisi Cup trophy. Speaking after his sides opening two games.
Eoin said: "The first game was quite frustrating for us, we dominated for quite long periods and squandered a lot of ball. It was the first run out for the team, a lot of the lads didn't know each other particularly well in terms of playing together, so a wins a win, a bonus point as well and yeah, happy to get a try, I don't get many so i'll take them when they come. The second match against Uruguay was better, we played well in the first half and fell away in the second half, but another bonus point win so we can't complain."
Being named in the squad is an achievement in itself for Griffin, particularly as he is the only player not playing in Ireland to gain selection. "It is great for my own confidence to be selected and shows I'm still in the mix which is great. The tournament presents a good opportunity for the coaches to see me up close again. They get a chance to see how I interact with the other boys and the work you do off the pitch as well as on it, as they can't see that when I'm with London Irish. I'm just trying to get everything right, all my little details right and do as much as I can in the games."
Turning his attention to London Irish and the new coaches and players coming into the Club, the centre is looking forward to it. "I am not going to be back until 20th July as I have had this tournament and most other players are back on 1st July so they will have a head start in terms of getting to know the new coaches and players. It's a long pre-season so there is plenty of time to catch up and bed in and hopefully get everything that the coach wants from us, find a way we are comfortable of playing and hit the ground running when we kick off in the middle of October."