O'Mahony ready for hot reception
Ireland captain Peter O'Mahony has admitted that he is finding the hot Houston climate tough going ahead of Saturday's meeting with the United States.
Temperatures soared to 30 degrees when the squad trained at the city's CES Performance Centre on Tuesday, and with similar conditions and 70 per cent humidity forecast for kick-off, the Irish players are expected to struggle.
O'Mahony does not want his players to use the weather as an excuse not to perform. "It was tough, to be honest with you. I was struggling a bit, the heat is oppressive with the humidity," he said. "We will be playing a bit later and both teams have to play in it so we have to get on with it. We trained in the peak of it, but I'm not sure if it will be much cooler."
He added: "We're probably not going to be here long enough to get used to it, but the American team has only one Texan in it so it will be the same for them. Obviously they have played here before, but it isn't like they're hanging out in this heat all the time."
O'Mahony believes the squad assembled by interim coach Les Kiss is bonding well. Wednesday's day off was spent at NASA's headquarters, while they met local NFL star JJ Watt who took them for a tour of the Reliant Stadium on Tuesday.
However, the 23-year-old says that the good spirits and atmosphere will count for nothing if the team do not deliver on Saturday.
"I'm enjoying the trip so far. We had a good week in Carton before we left, training has gone well and we are enjoying each other's company," O'Mahony explained. "There's a good buzz for the weekend, but all of that training and messing around together doesn't matter a bit once the 80 minutes gets going and we're looking forward to it.
"The USA (are) going into the Test thinking they're going to win it and we will do the same. It is not different to any other Test. It is the same as any other November international or Six Nations game.
"You play every Test as if it is your last, some guys are winning their first cap (while) others are looking to put their hand up."