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.
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.
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.
Seeing Joe Schmidt is happy to do so, let’s start with Jack Carty. Even as recently as a week ago, if an Irish team to face the World Cup hosts had been named with Jack at 10, the general reaction might be best characterised by raised eyebrows.
The 2019 Rugby World Cup is finally underway and before too long, it will be Ireland’s turn to get their campaign up and running. It will hardly be the gentlest of introductions to this global gathering of the sport’s greatest exponents, though, and the fact that Joe Schmidt’s men have to face Six Nations rivals Scotland first up tomorrow has shaped everything that has gone before this summer.