Iain Henderson says Andy Farrell is urging the Ireland squad to be more vocal.

The Ulster captain's comments echo his Irish skipper Johnny Sexton's words this week that a greater onus is placed on the team since Farrell replaced Joe Schmidt as head coach, particularly when it comes to encouraging a relatively quiet bunch's willingness to be vocal leaders.

One example cited by Sexton among those coming out of their proverbial shells is Tadhg Furlong.

Speaking at a press conference ahead of Ireland's Six Nations date with Scotland on Sunday, Henderson agreed that Farrell wants his players to be more talkative.  

"What Faz has done is he's asked guys to be more vocal," he said.

"He wants people to talk more. He's making an environment where it's more possible for guys to find their voice and in doing that, I think naturally there are a lot of people who have come to the forefront and sort of in their leadership skills. He's really nurtured that environment for that to happen."

He added that there is a consequently a greater element of knowledge-sharing within the squad.

"Maybe before guys mightn't have pitched up and given their insights but in such an intense environment, and everyone in this environment is so skilled at what they do, that we need to be feeding off each other," he said.

"So it's great to see the management creating this environment where we can do that and I think Andy Farrell has done an excellent job with that."

Jacob Stockdale has been able to get valuable game-time with Ulster

Henderson also welcomed Ulster team-mate Jacob Stockdale's return to the squad after the wing and full-back recovered from an injury that had kept him out of the first three Six Nations games.

"Jacob's slipped back in there and he's been really good all week, trained well and I feel he's going well and he's adding to the environment down here," he said.

"He was chatting after training to the group feeling the stress which the team who were playing were putting him under personally.

"So it's great to have him back down here and back involved. Fingers crossed we'll be seeing him more over the coming weeks. He's glad to be back after what was a frustrating injury for him."

While Stockdale has missed those first three rounds, the Scottish had an unexpected week off in matchweek three due Covid-19 cases in the French squad. 

Asked how he saw that extended break without games affecting Gregor Townsend's team this weekend, Henderson said: "It's difficult to weigh up those two arguments because I've been in that scenario before where we haven't played in a number of weeks and you feel very fresh going into it.

"But then sometimes in the back of your mind, it crawls in, 'Is my conditioning up to standard here?' However, I feel we're in a good position personally.

"In the shoes I'm sitting in, I'd have preferred to have played two weeks ago and I'm glad that we did. A good few of their guys did get back and play for their individual teams so conditioning mightn't be at the forefront of their minds but the team closeness and how connected they will be will hopefully be playing on their minds."

Follow Scotland v Ireland (kick-off 3pm, Sunday) via our live blog on RTE.ie and the RTÉ News app or listen live on RTÉ Radio 1's Sunday Sport. Highlights on Against the Head on RTÉ2 and RTÉ Player, 8pm Monday.