Joe Schmidt has said the Chris Henry is back in his thinking for the World Cup, despite being out for almost five months because of heart surgery.
Chris had suffered a mini-stroke in November the night before he was due to play for Ireland against South Africa in the Guinness Series.
He subsequently underwent heart surgery to repair a defect in his heart wall and has been recuperating since then, but the Ireland boss said that in his mind, Henry is back to where he was now even if he did not have the long lay-off.
Schmidt said: "He has worked very hard and he has shown a lot of character to get himself back into the frame."
It was obvious to the Ireland coach that Henry, who has scored two tries for Ulster in his last two outings in the PRO 12 and claimed a try for Ireland in last night's Thomond Park clash with the Barbarians, is making good progress in his comeback trail.
The coach said: "I still think he's working his way back to the top of his game, but you can see he's taking steps every time he does play and he's certainly in our thinking."
There is a belief that Henry is the type of player who could be valuable in tight games in the World Cup.
Chris Henry in last night's game against the Barbarians. Pic: Sportsfile.
Schmidt: "I think he's brought a real discipline to his game, he lives on the edge without going over the edge too often, doesn't tend to get penalised a lot, but does tend to get on the ball."
The coach also acknowledged that, along with Jamie Heaslip, Henry acts as a valuable organiser between the backs and forwards.
He said: "Inevitably he becomes the link with the backline quite often and the defensive line. That's a strength for us, when he is giving that clarity."
The Ulster back rower is also very popular with the rest of the Ireland squad, something that will help them in the intense atmosphere of a World Cup tournament.
Schmidt said: "He's really good in the group, he has an infectious positivity about him. He's a really good character to have in the group."