Paddy Wallace is under no illusions that he faces a battle to win back his place in the Ireland team with today's 'A' clash against the England Saxons the perfect opportunity to stake his claim.
Wallace formed a centre pairing with Brian O'Driscoll during last year's Six Nations forcing Gordon D'Arcy - who was recovering from an arm injury at the time - onto the bench.
However the tides have turned this year with Ulsterman Wallace still working his way back to full fitness following an ankle injury suffered during Ireland's win over South Africa in November and D'Arcy on form for Leinster.
Wallace has been named as Ireland A fly-half for the clash with the England Saxons on Sunday forming a half-back partnership with veteran Peter Stringer and the 30-year-old knows he may need to bide his time.
He said: “I’m confident I can challenge but it has taken longer than expected to get back to full fitness so I need to keep playing and training well and earn my place.
“I was a bit battered and bruised last year but it was great to be involved in Ireland’s first Grand Slam for 61 years.
“There have been a few changes at Ulster this season and I trying to improve myself at club level to become a better player for my country and really ensure that selection is guaranteed.
“My aim last year was to play regularly in the Six Nations and whenever I decide to retire I will look back on that with enjoyment but until then I want to keep going and going.”