There is a “completely different” feel to Ireland’s Guinness Six Nations set-up under head coach Andy Farrell, according to wing Jacob Stockdale.
After three years as assistant, Farrell succeeded Joe Schmidt following the 2019 Rugby World Cup and will hope his side will the begin the Championship with a bang against Scotland on Saturday (4.45pm GMT).
Ex-England and Italy attack coach Mike Catt has also joined Farrell’s coaching team with Simon Easterby and Richie Murphy remaining in place.
Ireland topped the rankings going into the World Cup only to lose to hosts Japan before being knocked out by New Zealand in the quarter-finals.
But Stockdale believes there is a fresh outlook with Farrell at the helm and is looking forward to this year’s Championship.
“I didn’t really enjoy the World Cup in a rugby sense,” Stockdale said.
“But you just have to park that and say, ‘That’s not me, I’m not defined by that – I’m defined by how I move forward’.
“Coming in the camp, it’s very different now. With new management, new styles, they’ve really tried to shake everything up and it feels completely different.
“It’s been really enjoyable coming back in and seeing the guys who you hung out with for so long in Japan.”
Stockdale was named the Player of the Championship in 2018 after scoring seven tries to propel Ireland to Grand Slam glory.
And the Ulster star says Farrell’s side will go into their opener against Scotland at the Aviva Stadium in buoyant mood.
“You can’t win a Grand Slam on the first weekend but you can lose it,” Stockdale said.
“As a player, you don’t really think about those worst-case scenarios.
“You go in with the confidence that we’re at home, we’re a good team and we’re training really well.
“We’ve prepared well for this game so for us it’s just going into this game with that confidence that that’s not going to happen and if it does, then we’ll deal with it.
“But we’re definitely hoping that it doesn’t.”