It seems crazy that there was no official review following Scotland’s early World Cup exit, but assistant coach Mike Blair insists that no stone was left unturned by the coaching staff, and no uncomfortable truth glossed over, in the quest to find out what went wrong.

Defence coach Matt Taylor has since returned to his native Australia and was replaced by Welshman Steve Tandy, while South African scrum guru Pieter de Villiers has been brought in on a short-term deal to assist forwards coach Danny Wilson in his final few months in the job before being shifted to Glasgow Warriors at the end of the season.

While Blair has survived this reshuffle, he knows that does not absolve him of responsibility, and says there is a collective desire within the squad to put right the wrongs of that failed Japanese expedition.

“It was obvious that after the World Cup something needed to change, that we needed to mix up what we were doing, because what we’d planned [for the World Cup] didn’t work,” said the former scrum-half. “There was some good stuff that we needed to hold on to and move through to the Six Nations, but there were some things we had to tweak.

“We’re the guys who are preparing the players, and how we prepared them wasn’t good enough, especially in that first game against Ireland. So, of course we have taken a good long hard look at ourselves, looking at ways we can improve. We feel we’ve got the players in a good position to be able to perform and they’re looking confident out there.”

Despite only having two weeks to work with the team, Blair believes the influence of Tandy and De Villiers on the squad will be evident when they kick-off their Six Nations campaign against Ireland this afternoon.

“You’d think it would be a challenge but there’s been a clarity with which guys have come in and explained exactly what they want,” he said. “After the first couple of defensive sessions the players were really aware of exactly what Steve wanted and how he wanted to go about things.

“The same goes for Pieter. He has lots of ideas from personal experience of playing at the top level, and the guys are loving the way he’s putting his ideas across. The players are feeding off his enthusiasm.”

Ireland have also had a change in coaching personnel with Andy Farrell stepping up from defence to the head coach role, and former England centre Mike Catt coming in to run the attack. Blair, however, doesn’t anticipate that this will significantly change the men in green’s approach to the game.

“Ireland have traditionally been conservative in their approach, and while I expect they’ll now have a bit more variety about their game, I still think they’ll take us on up front this weekend and see how we respond to that, much like they did at the World Cup,” he surmised.

“It’s crucial for us to front up to that, and to show them that’s not a way they can beat us.”