Thankfully, life is much more settled now.
Since Dan Tuohy moved on from French Pro D2 club Vannes in October 2020, where he was coaching after an horrific arm injury ended his playing career, normality has returned to his routine to replace the craziness of shuttling between working in Brittany and trying to catch up with his wife and young family who had already returned to Belfast.
The 36-year-old former Ulster and Ireland second row — who, in an 11 year career, also turned out for Gloucester, Exeter, hometown club Bristol, Leicester and Stade Francais — has even got involved in the game again and is doing some coaching at AIL club Belfast Harlequins when not working for a landscaping company in Ballynahinch or doing some business dealing with face masks.
Things are going fine for Tuohy whose retirement message, delivered on social media back in February 2020 with typical bluntness, daubed professional rugby as “starting to look like it’s rotten to the core.”
Nearly two years from drawing a line under his playing days with that attention-grabbing statement, the nerve damage in his arm now doesn’t really cause him too much trouble and he, thankfully, is also only too willing to voice his opinion on matters Ulster.
He now keeps a close eye on his former club and keeps his hand in with occasional media work.
In terms of Ulster’s current form, he admires the flair they can bring to their work, but is not entirely convinced when it comes to their consistency or whether Dan McFarland’s squad have the artillery to unseat some of the powerhouse clubs on the European scene.
“(Ulster) should be beating Clermont this weekend especially after doing so over there,” says Tuohy of Saturday’s final European pool game with Ulster already guaranteed their last 16 place and now seeking the highest seeding possible.
“While in the league they have lacked some consistency — you know, lose to Connacht, beat Leinster in Dublin, lose to the Ospreys and Munster — the European campaign has really done something for them.
“I thought at Northampton they were really impressive considering the average age of the backline.
“Robert Baloucoune, Michael Lowry and Nathan Doak played with no fear and really are enjoying their rugby.
“There’s almost no hangover from years previously when…” here Tuohy tails off and chooses not to trot out the number of times Ulster have fallen short when it comes to getting hold of silverware, a scenario that he is all too familiar with during his playing time here between 2009 and 2016.
“You know, it’s a real fresh start for those guys,” adds the former player who made who made over 130 appearances for Ulster.
He also mentions elements of Ulster’s pack as having the right stuff with Alan O’Connor, Marty Moore and Nick Timoney bringing consistency to their performances, as does Iain Henderson when fit or available, while Tuohy also reckons Duane Vermeulen must be having a positive impact on the work being done to bring a harder edge to their play.
“They could definitely go on a run (in Europe) and, say, get a French team at home in a quarter-final and then get through.
“But, look, you wouldn’t put your money on it,” he states as some caveats are thrown now into the mix regarding substantial progress towards potentially making Europe’s last four.
“Whether they have that consistency to go to the next level to dominate or get parity in one of those really big knockout games remains to be seen.
“To be the best in Europe, you simply have to beat the best and Ulster are in that group of teams just in below that top level of European sides.
“I think if you set your benchmark on the display at Northampton Saints then that’s way too low as I don’t think they’re (Saints) a great team to be honest.
“If an average or below average Montpelier team comes to Belfast then I just can’t see Ulster aren’t putting 80 plus points on them as was the case with Leinster last weekend.
“Just think back to the Autumn and look how many of them played for the Ireland team that beat the All Blacks for goodness sake.
“Ulster have to be at the level of Leinster but then there is La Rochelle, Racing, Toulouse or Exeter and, frankly, they all have front fives that Ulster simply don’t have.”
Having said that, Tuohy won’t completely write Ulster off when it comes to having a real rattle at Europe.
“Remember Ulster tend to be at their worst when they’re comfortable and appearing to be a dominant team. They actually tend to work best when they are in difficult situations.”
Europe’s level of difficulty is about to considerably steepen when we get to the next stage of the competition come April.