The return of Warren Gatland at a Guinness Six Nations launch brings an air of familiarity to proceedings but the Wales coach admitted he had to rely on others when it came to squad selection.
The last time Gatland was involved in the Championship, Wales claimed a Grand Slam, the third clean sweep under his leadership.
Now, after three years away, he is back in the hot seat, preparing for a tantalising opening clash against the world’s number one side, Ireland, in Cardiff.
And while many of the players named in his squad were already involved when Gatland was last in charge, he acknowledged that he had to rely on other members of his coaching staff to get him up to speed with some of the rising stars.
He explained: “The challenge is getting to know a number of younger players. The selection of the squad relied heavily on the other coaches that have worked with players within the squad. I had some of my own input but they had a massive input.
“I never thought I’d be back in Wales but this is an opportunity to be involved again with the Six Nations and the World Cup.
“The great thing about World Cup years is the amount of time you get to spend with the squad as preparation, it’s a bit like working with a club side.
“There is no better time to get Ireland, they will probably be a bit underdone like us, and we’ll be playing at home so there is no greater motivation for us.”
Gatland began his time in charge of Wales with a Grand Slam back in 2008, with his team largely based around the core of the Ospreys, who were flying high in Europe at the time.
While the regions have found life tougher in the intervening years, a recent resurgence has seen all four qualify for the latter stages in Europe, including Ospreys victories over French champions Montpellier and English champions Leicester in the last fortnight.
And if November is often a time for experimentation, Gatland is adamant that when it comes to the Championship, every game will count.
He added: “It’s the best competition in the world.
“From a historical point of view, the amount of away fans you get, the bragging rights about a Six Nations in terms of results. For us, it’s about when points are at stake.
“I’ve always felt the autumn is an opportunity to try a few combinations and experiment a bit. The Six Nations is when it really matters.
“You don’t win a tournament in the autumn. This year is incredibly important as it’s about building confidence and momentum going into the World Cup.”