Declan Kidney's reign as Ireland coach came to an ignominious end in April as an injury-hit Irish side crashed to a 22-15 defeat against Italy in Rome. It was a sad end to a glorious five years but the time had come to move in a new direction.
And so when Ireland face the U.S. Eagles in Houston on Saturday, it will be the dawn of a new era: the Joe Schmidt era. And while the man himself may not be at the helm just yet, one can't help but feel he's already pulling the strings behind the scenes.
With 10 starters on tour with the British and Irish Lions in Australia and a few others recuperating at home after a long season, this is a chance for a host of youngsters to make their mark.
Here's a quick look at a few of the players to keep an eye on.