Geordan Murphy has spoken of his sympathy for dropped full-back Girvan Dempsey ahead of the RBS 6 Nations opener with Italy.
Ireland coach Eddie O'Sullivan has been given the luxury of a full compliment of threequarters to select from for the Rome clash thanks to Gordon D'Arcy's long awaited return from injury.
But D'Arcy's presence at inside centre has seen the axe fall over Girvan Dempsey, a player who has rarely let the Triple Crown holders down but who must now settle for a place on the bench.
''I felt a lot of sympathy for Girvan,'' said Murphy, whose switch from wing to full-back left no room for Dempsey.
''He's a friend of mine so competing for the same spot is a difficult position to be in. I've been in his shoes and it's not a nice predicament. It's bit of a double edged sword for me.
''I'm very happy but it's also so disappointing for him. I feel for him but he's such a fantastic bloke - he was the first one to wish me the best of luck.
''I have to play well to keep the shirt and also to do him proud. I'm pleased to be back off the wing.
''I've no problem playing there if it means I get an Irish cap but I'm looking forward to being a full-back again.''
Italy will be battling with Scotland to avoid the wooden spoon but Murphy warns against writing off the Azzurri, who are no longer just tournament cannon fodder.
''It's very easy to look too far down the line and start talking about Grand Slams, but we need to focus on Italy,'' he said.