Ireland coach Declan Kidney is reluctant to rush Gordon D'Arcy back into the Test arena but expects him to play some part in the RBS 6 Nations.
D'Arcy broke his arm in the championship opener against Italy a year ago and only returned to provincial duty for Leinster at Christmas.
His comeback has been limited to appearances on the wing or, more recently, as a substitute, yet Kidney has included the Lions centre on the bench for Saturday's opener against France.
"Maybe we’ll see Gordon against France. In fairness to him he’s been coming through matches well," said Kidney.
"He’s played a bit on the right wing lately and played for Lansdowne in the AIL last Saturday, which was his first game at 12 since he’s come back.
"I think it would be unfair to push him when he’s all but 12 months out of the game. Again that’s the benefit of the bench."
Kidney has resisted the urge to restore the D'Arcy-Brian O'Driscoll midfield axis that has served Ireland so well in the past.
Instead Paddy Wallace was the surprise name to partner O'Driscoll at inside centre, although Ulster fans will view his promotion as a fitting reward for his dazzling form this season.
Wallace and O’Driscoll were paired together during last summer's tour to New Zealand and Australia and were part of the successful 1998 Ireland Under-19 side that captured the World Championship.
Kidney was coach of that Under-19s team and is happy to give Wallace, who has been a perennial understudy to Ronan O'Gara, his chance.
"Paddy and Brian have known one another for 10, 11 years – even at under-19s they played next to one another," said Kidney.
"I think there’s always a risk management thing to be calculated as to who you bring through, but I would have confidence in them playing.
"I think Paddy has shown a lot of consistent form. I think he dovetails well with Brian and Ronan O’Gara inside and outside.
"He’s got a good temperament – I like that in the way he can bring that to the game.
"He’d have a feel for what an out half is going through and can lean in and take the pressure off the fly-half.
"And at the same time, he and Brian have been linking with one another over a 10 to 11 year period."