"Ah Dave, this is really playing into your hands, isn't it?"
Conor Murray delivers the arch smile of a man who is content in his work and play. We have mentioned the dreaded 'B-word' before he has even had time to settle in his seat.
But whereas there was a time when he would bristle a tad more virulently when the topic of the box-kick was broached (never mind anyone deigning to question his own form), there is a gentle airiness aboard this Irish camp these days.
Murray, so long the lodestar of the international side when they were riding high, almost as suddenly became its fall guy when the wheels fell off.
He will never agree publicly with good friend Simon Zebo's comments this week, but one wonders whether he might have ever silently swallowed some crumbles of Zebo's truth?
"He's a very exciting player - he just does what he's told to do," Zebo told French media this week.
"He'll get the blame for coaches' decisions, so if a coach tells him, 'Kick the ball, kick the ball, kick the ball', Conor has to do what he's told because that's the way the team wants to play.
"I would say the coaches would be to blame if Conor's boring. He's not boring at all. He's an excellent player with, probably the best pass in world rugby."
With friends like these, Murray has little need for perceived enemy critics to constantly carp.
But he seems more comfortable now, looser both on and off the field. The team remain in a bubble, but there seems to be more space to breathe.
And so the weary query does not upset him, as we surmise a new approach, not just from his Irish team, but his young provincial colleagues too down south.
The plan(et)s are aligning.
One philosophy is slowly being subsumed by another but, like all life-changes, is retaining the best of its past existence in order to design the best of its future. Except this time, everyone in Irish rugby might be reading from the same page.
"Firstly, the box-kick is a team thing," explains Murray of a tactic that is now almost charged with the symbolism contained within Ireland's 2020 vision.
"It's not just the nine deciding he's going to kick it in the air and hope for the best. It's generally a team philosophy.
"We had time to look back on a few previous games and maybe we over-relied on it a bit. And if you're doing it all the time and then don't get possession back it doesn't look great.
"We're not obsessed with that, we're looking to expand our game, grow it and part of that was sharing the kicking load."
He only did it twice against Italy but one improvised kick produced from completely outside the box produced a sublime score. On Monday, we spun south to Munster and watched the new breed of half-back, within a system where Murray's box-kick has often been even more slavishly adopted.
Craig Casey did not launch a missile until the 53rd minute; his side were under the posts within seconds.
The box-kick was boxed away again as Munster finished a match scoring from four - FOUR! - successive offloads.
Some have been obsessed by the prevalence of the box-kick in recent times and are equally obsessed by its apparent demise, as if an unwitting victim of that dastardly virus.
Although it dovetailed with the most extraordinary period of Irish international pre-eminence, it was an ugly by-product, replacing the 'choke tackle' as a tactic that could be as admired as it was reviled.
Ireland were rarely pretty but they always pretty effective. They could be forgiven for sticking to what they knew, even as their success wound down in the latter months of Joe Schmidt's reign.
It didn't work for everyone; Munster tried to ape the approach but neither had the quality of coach nor player to succeed; Leinster, who had both, managed to refine the 'art' of winning and winning well.
However, Ireland had boxed themselves in and, in continuing their belligerent approach, were ultimately a spent force by the time the 2019 World Cup journey ended in failure.
"We want to be able to play physical and abrasive," Farrell told us last January, "but we've got skilful, smart players who have got a lot more in them to give. We want to be able to adapt to the game in front of us."
Paul O'Connell is now watching from the bleachers, and what he saw in Limerick on Monday was as instructive as what he witnessed in Dublin two days earlier.
"The way they are playing is probably the way a lot of teams are moving anyway," he says of the national side.
"It's not the exact same as Leinster by any means, but you would imagine that transition was quite easy for the Leinster guys because they are doing something similar and they seem to believe in it in a big way under Stuart Lancaster and Leo Cullen.
"Having said that, I still think the move is brave because so many of the methods that Joe used were successful and they are still capable of being successful.
"So to move in this direction while still having a good template in place was very brave of him and the players as well. They seem to be enjoying the change and the change of attitude as well around the camp. It has freshened things up so it is a great move for Ireland.
"Long-term, even if you look at the way Munster played, there is a movement towards trying to handle the ball a bit more and offload a bit more.
"I think there will be a lot of alignment from the provinces in terms of how Ireland are playing.
"And if you look three years down the line at a World Cup, I think we will be very aligned and capable of doing some of the things we weren't capable of doing in the last World Cup."