Simon Easterby set foot in New Zealand last night and revealed how his Lions call-up has cost him the princely sum of 200 Japanese Yen.
The Scarlets star was called into the Lions squad at the weekend after Lawrence Dallaglio was ruled out of the tour with a dislocated fracture of the ankle. For Easterby it was a massive eleventh hour change of plans - he was due to head east with Ireland on Saturday night as part of the Irish tour party set for Japan.
However, a quick change of airports, a ninety minute taxi ride and a 24-hour flight later and the Irishman was in New Zealand with fellow Scarlet Dwayne Peel and his club coach, Assistant Lions Coach, Gareth Jenkins.
"It's never nice to benefit from someone else's misfortune, but I am delighted to be here," said Easterby. "I was sat in Shannon Airport with the rest of the Irish squad set for Heathrow and then Japan when the team manager told me I was re-routing to New Zealand. I got a plane to Gatwick, a taxi to Heathrow and then on to Auckland."
But it came at a cost as Easterby admits: "Straight away the boys told me that I was to be fined 200 Yen for pulling out of the tour. I didn't have it on me at the time, but I am sure they will call it in the next time I see them. I haven't been given any indication if and when I will get a game, but I am just glad to be here."
Easterby is due to get married at the end of next month and admits that he has left the final arrangements in the capable hands of his wife to be: "I did a lot of organising before I came out, but my girlfriend has got everything under control."
Nearly 40 players were involved in the first Wales Under 18 training session of the season. WRU National Performance Manager Gethin Watts is excited at the potential shown by the group and expects the Regional Under 18 Championship to hone their skills even further.