New Ireland rugby coach Andy Farrell is embracing the challenge of leading the men in green into the 2020 Six Nations Championship.
Farrell, the defence coach under Joe Schmidt, was speaking at the launch of the tournament in London today.
Ireland begin their campaign against Scotland at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday week.
After the bitter disappointment of the World Cup, Farrell was asked if he could come under pressure from supporters if early results don't go Ireland's way:
"There's always pressure, isn't there, and you would expect pressure to be on any Irish side to win at home. That's what we expect our ourselves, so that's not a new thing."
Having being involved in a Grand Slam winning set-up under Schmidt, Farrell is expecting a smooth transition as he becomes the new number one:
"Well you'd hope so, you'd hope so, because I tend to know the systems that are in place and the people, which is a great start. The relationships with the provinces is key for me as head coach. That continues to be strong and it is, so you get to know the insights before you get to the head job role. That can only be a good thing."
Farrell is welcoming five new players into the squad, in Max Deegan, Caelan Doris, Tom O'Toole, Billy Burns and Ronan Kelleher, and he's backing them to deliver:
"If we didn't think they could do that, they wouldn't be in the squad in the first place. There's a clean slate that's been drawn there, when the squad was announced. We've got ten days training before we play Scotland and we'll see how people shape up. Competition for places has to be right up there as what drives us forward together."
The head coach was also asked whether Ireland's style of play will be similar to Leinster's, as Stuart Lancaster implied last week:
"Styles are always great to talk about, but it's a little bit of a smokescreen really, because rugby generally doesn't change. There's always the same obstacles in the way. The side that you've got, the side that you've got fit, the refereeing decisions, the permutations of that, that's ongoing throughout a game. The conditions, the opposition, they all have a say in how you want to play the game. Hopefully, we'll play a game that's good enough to win and that's what matters."
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