It’s so far, so good for Andy Farrell in his burgeoning head coach career.
Two from two in the 2020 Six Nations and clear evidence of a change in Ireland’s gameplan has brought some cautious optimism that the team can evolve and banish the demons of yet another quarter-final exit at a World Cup.
The Englishman has a clear philosophy as to how the game should be played but one of the pleasing aspects of his tenure thus far is that he’s not afraid to admit his own relative inexperience which is reflected wisely in the addition of bringing in extra bodies as Ireland prepare for their clash with England on Sunday.
One example of that is Paul O’Connell’s presence in Ireland camp this week.
“We like people to try and take stock from the outside and get a feel, the feeling of how camp is,” Farrell said on Wednesday.
“Paul is here to observe and come into all the meetings, share his experience along the way and try and connect with the boys.”
Former Ireland team manager Mick Kearney has also been a presence among the squad this week as Farrell brings in some familiar faces to help in any way he sees fit.
Interestingly, the head coach is also using the man he replaced as a sounding board in the preparation of the players under his tutelage.
Many head coaches would balk at the idea of getting help from the person they replaced but Farrell had no problem in admitting that he is still in touch with Joe Schmidt to discuss matters surrounding the team.
“I spoke to Joe a few times, yeah.”
“It’s always good to get a handle, obviously he’s not been in camp or doesn’t quite know what we’ve been trying to do, but it’s great to get some feedback.
“He’s been to a few games, he’s watched the games and will be watching in a little bit more depth than other people so it’s always nice to get a bit of feedback.”