Leinster duo Jamie Heaslip and Bernard Jackman take to the field against the French on Saturday. Heaslip has his career ahead of him, Jackman knows acutely well how few of these days are possibly left. But both still have their eyes on the prize of an Ireland career. They are being handed golden opportunities to make their names. While you can imagine easier games than the currently buoyant Bleus in Paris the toughness of the opposition will underline the true quality of an eye-catching performance from either.
The same goes for Rob Kearney on the wing and to a certain extent Andrew Trimble in the centre. The last time Kearney played in France he had a rough night and the Toulousain backline exposed frailties in his decision making and Trimble has yet to have a really big game in the Irish shirt. He is a centre and this is a rare opportunity for him to play an international at centre instead of on the wing. First receiver is not his speciality but this is as close to his comfort zone as he’s likely to get for a while. Between him and his skipper they’ll have to work something big out. Isn’t it time a young Irish centre announced himself to the world with a hat-trick in Paris?