Wales have not beaten another Test-playing nation since last season's Six Nations when they overcame France to secure a third title and Grand Slam in eight years - a run that has included seven successive defeats.
"With three successive games on the road - France, Italy and Scotland - it underlines how important that first game is at home to Ireland," said Rees. "The most important thing for us is we make sure we learn from what happened in the autumn."
He added: "We've got some new faces involved in the squad, and for us it is a fresh challenge. There is a lot of competition for places, and hopefully that will bring the best out of the players.
"We know how disappointing we were in the autumn series with four losses, but that is all in the past now and we've got to make sure we learn from that.
"It is a tough Six Nations with three games on the road after the first one at home. We all know the first game up is the most important one in terms of getting momentum and confidence leading into the rest of the campaign."