So much for stormy weather. The clouds may have been gathering around Ireland as they prepared to face Grand Slam champions Wales in Dublin, and not just those being blown in by Storm Ciara. Yet when Johnny Sexton speaks, all becomes calm.
Andy Farrell insisted continuity in Ireland team selection would not come at the expense of creativity as he kept changes to a minimum for Saturday’s Guinness Six Nations second-round visit of Wales to Dublin’s Aviva Stadium.
Forget all the marketing blurbs and advertising campaigns: is the national side really the Team of Us, or is it still primarily the preserve of those who have come through the fee-paying schools' system.went in search of answers.
It wouldn't be like an Irish mammy to wish illness on her son but you wouldn't have blamed Robbie Henshaw's if she had regarded it as the lesser of two evils when it forced the Leinster centre to miss out on the visit to the Sportsground two weekends ago.
Garry Ringrose is still sporting a bandage to cover the head injury he picked up in Japan but a hat-trick of tries in this bonus-point Heineken Champions Cup win in Dublin suggests that there is no lingering hangover from Ireland's dismal World Cup showing.
That Ireland could lose a World Cup quarter-final to the All Blacks is not a major shock in itself. New Zealand just have better cattle, as I said in last week’s column. However, the manner of the loss, even at a remove now of five days, was utterly shocking.
Ireland will have to wait another four years for a crack at a first World Cup semi-final appearance after Joe Schmidt’s tenure as head coach came to an end with a comprehensive defeat to the world champions on Saturday.