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James Ryan says the alchemy of the Ireland second row is working like a charm heading into Sunday's Six Nations game away to Scotland. 

The Leinster lock has hailed the influence of recently-installed line-out coach Paul O'Connell.

Ryan says the educational benefits of working alongside the former Ireland captain, have been augmented by his relationship with Iain Henderson in the second row.

Speaking earlier in the week, O'Connell lamented his lack of time with the Ireland pack in any given week, but praised the second row contingent to the heavens, saying, "You look at some of our second rows and the athleticism they have, their ball carrying ability, their tackle ability, the speed that some of them can move at.

“The second row position is becoming far more athletic. They are almost like tall No. 6s, some of them, and it is pretty impressive to watch.

"It’s amazing how some of them can carry the workload of running a line-out, running a defensive line-out, maul defence and attack as well, and just switch into another job once the line-out is over."

Ryan feels there has been a marked improvement in Ireland's set piece following the addition of O'Connell to Andy Farrell's coaching staff.

"I wouldn't say there's been a massive change to the nuts and bolts of our line-out," Ryan said, "But I suppose what he's introduced is little small intricacies and just levels of detail that really make the difference at this level.

"Because I think the set piece has been an area of our game that's been a real positive for us so far in the campaign - in terms of our scrum and our line-out.

"And we know how important that is at this level, so that's definitely one real positive that we're taking.

"It's an area that we felt looking back at the autumn could've been a bit stronger, so we're in a good place now."

Sunday's game at Murrayfield is likely to see Ryan partnered by Iain Henderson for the second consecutive outing.

The 24-year old feels his tandem with the Ulster lock is one that's helped by a good relationship off the pitch.

"I think I'd get along with Hendy as good as anyone in here," Ryan revealed, "So we're good mates first and foremost but I really enjoy playing with him.

"I think he's a very smart player. I think he brings real leadership as well... he's obviously been club captain up at Ulster.

"But year, I enjoy playing with him. I think he's a very good line-out operator as well.

"And when he's at his best he's such a destructive force, and you love playing alongside somebody like that in the second row.

"It's a privilege to play with him when I get the chance."

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Iain Henderson Ireland James Ryan Paul O'Connell Scotland Six Nations

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