Andrew Sheridan has been urged to underline his Lions credentials with another "colossal" performance when England lock horns with Ireland at Croke Park.
The giant Sale prop impressed England and Lions scrum coach Graham Rowntree with a lung-bursting, all-action display against Wales 10 day ago.
Sheridan played with the kind of bite and energy at the Millennium Stadium that often underlines his case for being considered the world’s most fearsome loose-head prop.
There have also been concerns about Sheridan’s consistency at the coal-face, but Rowntree has highlighted how important his role will in the hostile surroundings of Croke Park.
“Against Wales it was a straight Lions trial with him and Gethin Jenkins,” said Rowntree.
“Andrew has come along in the last few weeks. His work rate is colossal and I don’t use that word lightly, along with the rest of our front five.
“He will be judged because of the man he is and the size he is with what he does in the scrum. That is developing nicely as well and another increase in performance and we will be happy at the weekend.
“The Irish front row of Marcus Horan, Jerry Flannery and John Hayes - the Munster outfit - are a handful.
“They are all improved players. I am a big fan of Flannery and they are all contenders for that Lions trip.”
Sheridan will be among the first names jotted down on the teamsheet when Rowntree and the other England coaches gather tonight to finalise their selection to face Ireland.
The selection was delayed 24 hours to give England time to “experiment” with a few options, as defence coach Mike Ford described it.
England are having to redesign their defensive structure after the specific plan Ford developed to keep Jamie Roberts, Wales’ chief midfield gamebreaker, at bay worked to a tee.
Joe Worsley was employed to fulfill that specific role and was named man of the match for his performance, but Ireland’s midfield threats are vastly different.
Worsley seems likely to retain his place but Ireland’s centres Brian O’Driscoll and Paddy Wallace pose a far more canny threat.
“Wherever we defend Joe and whatever tactic we use, he is a very good defender,” said Ford.
“Ronan O’Gara is very clever and they will have players in their locker if they see Joe working as an extra forward in the back line.
“We need to be one step ahead of them this weekend. The Irish centres are very talent, very creative but not the bone-crushing runner Roberts was. We have got to try and second guess them and stay ahead of them.”
England must decide whether to stick with Andy Goode, who has started the last two games, or recall Danny Cipriani to the squad.
When England travelled to Croke Park in 2007 the historical significance of the occasion seemed to galvanise the Irish, who romped to a 43-13 victory.
Ford insisted England would now be forewarned and suggested the pressure was on Ireland to deliver the Grand Slam that has so often eluded them.
“The Irish have had to handle the pressure of the golden generation of not winning a championship or a Grand Slam. They have got to handle that,” said Ford.
England name their team to face Ireland at 11am tomorrow.