Former Wales coach Mike Ruddock believes that Ireland are "now better equipped" to impress in the Six Nations following the emergence of a host of young players.
Ruddock, who now coaches Ireland Under-20s, also claimed that recent injuries to experienced players has allowed the team to improve.
"With the injuries Ireland have had, they have had to put the younger players in and that has worked in their favour as there is now more depth as a result," Ruddock told Sky Sports News.
"This means they are now better equipped and the younger players could make their mark during the tournament."
The Six Nations competition gets underway this weekend.