FUKUOKA, 10 Oct - A couple of days off to wander around the buzzing city of Fukuoka was just what Ireland needed to get their tournament back on track, according to tight-head prop Tadhg Furlong.
"It's been good for us, massively," Furlong said ahead of Ireland's final Pool A game against already eliminated Samoa on Saturday. "International rugby is a tough game. It's nice to let the pressure valve go for a few days and then build it back up again."
The 26-year-old, pictured above, made his international debut shortly before RWC 2015 and has since become one of the world's best props, having started all three British and Irish Lions tests against New Zealand in 2017.
He is also an engaging character, not least when enthusing about why he prefers compact Fukuoka (population 1.58 million) to "mad" and "manic" Tokyo, which is about six times bigger.
On one of his rest days, Furlong and some team-mates found a tiny restaurant serving Wagyu beef, cooked on an open fire in front of them. "Japanese food is lovely, but it's nice to get a nice bit of steak as well," said the farmer's son from Wexford.
Later, he liked the look of another restaurant but was unsure about a dish on the all-Japanese menu. "We got the Google Translate (app) out and it came up as fried chicken cartilage. I'm all for embracing the culture, but that's a bit much for me."
His time in Japan, he says, has certainly been different. "You're so isolated. You're catching family in the early morning or the afternoon. You're not outside your comfort zone, but you're outside the normalities of general life in some ways.
"It's a completely different culture. You can't fully immerse yourself in the nitty gritty of it, you're not a tourist. But I am enjoying the trip."
He will enjoy it a lot more if Ireland can recover from two sub-par performances against Japan and Russia and qualify for the quarter-finals with a more convincing display against the Samoans, in a game he will almost certainly start.
While the weekend off was welcome, the squad were back in their normal mode on Monday morning, glad to have a full week to prepare.
"You don't get away from what worked for you in the past or the normal routine. You don't go rewriting the book.
"It feels like it's very, very nearly there but probably just hasn't clicked yet. It's hard to put your finger on it. When we play really well, we can be really clinical. We hold on to the ball really well and we just don't force it. Knuckle down, stick to what you're good at - and be very efficient at it."
On Saturday, he is expecting "a massive challenge" from a team with nothing to lose. While mindful of Samoa's physicality and flair, he does not fully subscribe to the idea that Ireland's intensity will return with a vengeance now that the stakes are so high.
"As a group you probably don't look for reasons to get you fired up, do you? It's about what standard you hold yourself accountable to."
Furlong's own standards are high and Ireland will be hoping he is back to his rampaging best in Fukuoka.