Ireland's forwards coach Simon Easterby feels the summer tour takes on added significance after the World Cup draw.
Following a clash with the USA, Ireland will travel to Japan to play two Test matches - the first on Saturday, June 17 and the second on Saturday, June 24.
They've been drawn with Japan for the World Cup, Easterby believes that adds an extra dimension to this summer's meeting:
“We’re not only going to Japan where the World cup will be held, they’re also in our group so it’ll allow us to get a feel for the culture and what Japan has to offer, but also playing against a team we’re going to come up against in the World Cup which will be really interesting.”
“It’s a chance to go away and work hard with a group of players and hopefully they’ll get plenty out of it and I’m sure we will too”
The squad will be selected early next week and with 11 players on tour with the British and Irish Lions, Easterby has hinted that we’ll see a number of uncapped players for Ireland’s trip to the USA and Japan:
“It’s great for us as coaches to get the chance to work with a few players that are slightly under the radar and we get the chance to build our depth with those 11 players away with the Lions.
“It’s a good time for us.”
Easterby is looking forward to working with some of the fresh faces likely to be drafted into the squad, but he also feels they must strike a balance of youth and experience on the tour:
“You do want to expose as many players but you also want to have the experience, it’s getting that balance.
“I think we’ve tried to get that with players who’ve come in and maybe are that bit inexperienced but you’ve still got experience around them and I think that’s worked really well over the last 12 months”.
It’s not just new players who’ll cut their teeth on this tour, Girvan Dempsey, Felix Jones and Ronan O’Gara will all play a part at some stage.
Easterby believes there is plenty to gain from bringing the young coaches into the set-up as they are most familiar with the players from working with them at provincial level:
“The provincial coaches work incredibly hard almost 52 weeks of the year, it will be great to take some of the guys away with us.
“They’re working with those players week in, week out while we only get them for periods so there’s an insight into the players and how they tick as well which those coaches will be able to offer.
“I think all of that is good for Irish Rugby, we’re trying to make it very inclusive and make it an open shop, we’re trying not to just pick out and work with top quality players but work with the top quality coaches and hopefully produce some of our own”
Canterbury, the world's leading rugby apparel brand and kit supplier to the Ireland Rugby team, gave competition winners the opportunity to train like an Ireland player and find out what life is like as an international rugby star. If you’re committed to training, nutrition and recovery, visit canterbury.com/training-hub for expert advice.