It's been the quietest Irish rugby news cycle for a long time: even the previous Six Nations rest week had the furore surrounding Ian Madigan's unhappiness in France. With the dust settling this week ahead of the whirlwind fortnight ahead, the Premier League has knocked rugby off this Sunday's back pages.
That said, there is some rugby gold tucked within the papers, and much of it comes from Brendan Fanning's interview with Donnacha Ryan in the Sunday Independent.
Ryan comes across as a fascinating, down to earth guy throughout the chat, and has a much more interesting off-field life than we had suspected. During a long injury spell, while reckoning with rugby mortality, Ryan decided to start thinking about a second career: so he ended up taking a degree in geology. Ryan went on work experience with a company which trades oil and gas bonds, a time in which he went on plenty of field trips, and was shown a piece of the moon.
Ryan then took a degree in geology, but he missed his graduation last November: it clashed with Ryan's reckoning with history against the All Blacks in Chicago.
Ryan's brother-in-law has an equally fascinating back story: William Ryan is a novelist. Ryan has written a trilogy about a policeman in a Moscow militia in the 1930s:
It's fiction but the detail and the information is all factual stuff...the time invested in learning the history of that time. I like when I read stuff to get something informative out of it...it's Moscow in the '30s, the NKVD and all them. It's very good. Obviously I'm plugging him away here, but...writers have a tough gig. You'd appreciate it, having the discipline...when you see it first hand.
It's a great interview, which you can read in today's Sunday Independent.