Ultan Dillane would obviously prefer to be still in Irish camp, but having been released to play for Connacht this weekend, he knows Andy Farrell and his coaching team will be watching closely when they play Cardiff Blues on Saturday.
Dillane, like hooker Dave Heffernan who has also been released from camp for this game, now has that bit more incentive aside from striving to bring a five-match losing run to an end for Connacht.
Dillane won the last of his 14 caps against France last March and having been recalled to the Irish squad when Farrell took over, after being overlooked for the World Cup squad, he’s delighted to be back in the fold.
“It’s been great. It’s been a good experience for everyone involved. There was a fresh mindset with this campaign, but it has been quite enjoyable,” said the 27-year-old.
“When you have two from two it is pretty exciting for what comes next. But at the same time, it is good to be back here. We do need game-time, so it is part and parcel of it. I am very familiar with this over the years. It is a nice change of pace to come back and play in your comfort zone.”
Saturday’s clash with Cardiff Blues is a real eight or 10-pointer, given that just a point separates the sides, and they are both outside the top three in Conference B in the PRO14.
“It is a tough one. We need a win to be in with a chance to keep our season on track. This game in no way is going to be an easy one with the weather predicted. Be it home or away it is still going to be a tough game. We really need to be at our best.”
But he also knows that the Irish management will be keeping an eye on how himself and Heffernan perform, and Dillane said they need to be ready if called upon given the chance.
“Naturally it is going to have a part to play. It is important to play our best.
“Sure if the guys (James Ryan and Iain Henderson) keep playing the way they do, it is only fair they stay there.
“It is a good challenge for myself.” he added.