Andy Farrell has hardly had time to get his feet under the table but still the question one everyone’s mind is what has changed since he took over from Joe Schmidt.
While on the pitch, the initial reaction was not much following Ireland’s 19-12 win over Scotland in the opening round of the Guinness Six Nations last weekend.
Off the pitch, there have been some changes in personnel with Iain Henderson added to the team’s leadership group along with Tadhg Furlong.
The Ulster captain says it’s been a good transition for him and admits there’s a different mentality around the place under Farrell.
“It’s good. There’s a different mentality around the place, there is a different mentality in meetings, there is a different relationship between players and coaches, there is a different relationship between players and players going over stuff together.
“And everything that is done is done in a real positive manner to ensure that we are getting the best out of each other, to ensure that if I go to Cian (Healy) and ask him for help or he comes to me and asks me for help, we’re doing it to make each other better and ultimately to get a better result at the weekend and everyone knows that.”
Henderson continued by admitting in years gone by this may not have been the case in the Ireland camp.
“Maybe in years gone by, guys might have been a wee bit tentative of who they went and asked questions to, or who they are trying to get clarity to for fear of people thinking they don’t know their detail, they don’t know stuff. But now there’s a very open learning system has been put in place to ensure guys are free to get information whenever they want.”
With over 50 caps to his credit, Henderson has more experience than most players at 27.
The Ulster captain is well aware that being adaptable and having a willingness to learn is key to making it at international rugby. Something that is needed now more than ever given that Ireland are in somewhat of a transition period.
“Part of being an international rugby player is being pretty adaptable, having different things thrown at you midweek and being able to just cope with them. Being able to not only use the time on the pitch to learn but learning away from the pitch as well to make your time on the pitch as valuable to you as possible.
“A lot of different things are changing, there are different systems in place but all of the guys are adapting pretty well, training’s been pretty smooth and guys are excited to be doing something maybe slightly different but similarly doing a lot of stuff for the reason they were picked for this international squad.”
Henderson will line-up alongside James Ryan once again in the second-row this weekend against Wales were a familiar foe lays in wait.
Someone whose presence ensures that Henderson, and the rest of Ireland’s leadership group, will need to be on top of his game in order to get out on the right side of a result.
Welsh captain, Alun Wyn Jones.
“He’s got so much experience, so many different levels. He’s definitely right up there with one of those guys you have to be aware of. He can be extremely destructive on both sides of the ball. There were times at the weekend when Italy did a good job on him.
“However, we can’t just assume that everyone is going to do that and brush him under the rug. We have to make sure that we’re on top of our game defensively and in attack just to make sure him and other threats around their pack and backline are nullified because the moment you assume someone is looked after and they’re not going to cause you much hassle, that’s when you’re going to get trouble thrown at you.”