Andy Farrell made his Wigan debut aged 16 and was captain of Great Britain at 21.
He, more than anyone, knows what it's like to be thrown in at the deep end.
That’s why he firmly believes in the 'if you are good enough you are old enough’ mantra as he turns his thoughts towards the team to face Scotland in Dublin – his first selection as head coach of the national team – on 1 February in his first Guinness Six Nations game as boss.
Uncapped Max Deegan, Caelan Doris, Ronan Kellegher, Tom O’Toole and Billy Burns are all in the mix, Farrell told RTÉ Sport’s Damien O’Meara.
"It’s a 36-man squad and I wouldn’t say that any of them are not in form so competition for places is great," he said.
"You are trying to be open-minded to see what fits and what works for the game that we want to play.
"Certainly you do [approach with the attitude that if they are good enough they are old enough]. And you never know until you know, do you?
"At the same time you’ve got to have a good sense that you are not going to damage anyone who is not ready but we feel that the people that we’ve picked within our squad wouldn’t be here unless they were pushing for places, that says it all really."
One of the most talked-about positions is at scrum-half where 78-cap Conor Murray is hoping to retain his place with Ulster’s John Cooney (8 caps) and Leinster’s Luke McGrath (19 caps) breathing down his neck.
Farrell said: "Everyone is talking about John Cooney and his form.
"He’s been playing really well and is really confident at this moment in time, and then you’ve got Conor [Murray] getting the man of the match at the weekend and Luke McGrath getting man of the match as well so it’s a great place to be."