Rob Kearney believes Ireland are moving in the right direction under new coach Joe Schmidt, but success will take time.
Schmidt has taken over coaching the national side after great success in his three years with Leinster, winning two Heineken Cups and the RaboDirect Pro12 with teams that Kearney was at the heart of.
Kearney has begun to find his best form after proving to be a frustrated bystander during the British and Irish Lions tour of Australia, as a hamstring injury and the excellent form of Leigh Halfpenny kept him out of the Test side.
Now looking ahead, Kearney admits that Ireland are not in the finest position - 8th in the IRB Rankings behind Samoa - given that their last competitive match with a full selection of players was a 22-15 defeat to Italy.
However the 27-year-old believes that success can be achieved with the current crop of Irish players, but only given time.
"If you are looking objectively on it, we are probably not in a great situation," Kearney told the Irish Times.
"From where we are inside the camp it is very different. There is a real freshness there, new excitement, we've got some key players back and fit so where we are perceived to be and where we actually feel are pretty far apart.
"In saying that we need to back it up with some wins.
"I'm not saying the country should expect three losses in autumn but I do think it will take time before we see the very best performance from this Irish team. It's not going to happen immediately.
"Samoa are ranked ahead of us, aren't they? That's going to be a tough game too [as well as Australia and New Zealand]. They've taken some big scalps.
"Australia hit rock bottom for that Lions tour. It was as poor as I have ever seen an Australia team play but they have got themselves back together now under Ewen McKenzie and put some good performances together.
"If we can focus on seeing a complete performance from an Irish team, a better style and brand than was perhaps played over the last few years. I think that's a positive.
"Keep getting positives and there will be a just reward somewhere down the line."