Simon Easterby's tussle with Neil Best for Ireland's number six jersey will drive him on against Scotland at Murrayfield on Saturday.
The back row duo have been locked in a ferocious contest for the blindside spot, with Best starring during the autumn only for Easterby to regain his place for the RBS 6 Nations Championship.
Easterby knows a poor performance against the Scots will allow Best to stake his claim for recall and he does not intend to surrender his place in the pecking order.
He said: 'There are still butterflies in the stomach when (coach) Eddie O'Sullivan names the side.
'You don't take anything for granted, especially in the back row. Any three from eight or nine players could be starting for Ireland.
'That's not lost on me or anyone else who has been fortunate to get selected.
'I know I could lose my place in the team at any time and the effects of that can be seen on the pitch.
'In training the competition is not too bad. There are times where you do contact sessions and things happen. But it's fairly amicable.
'When I play Neil at provincial level it's always a close encounter.'
Easterby has forged a dynamic back row partnership alongside the marauding Denis Leamy and David Wallace and the trio excelled in the 43-13 stuffing of England at Croke Park.
Winning possession and slowing down opposition ball are Easterby's strengths and the Llanelli flanker knows his role against the Scots.
'Leams and Wally are very good ball carriers and they're as good as they come on the international stage at the moment,' he said.
'I'm happy to do my job by getting the ball the backs will thrive on. It went well against England. We set a standard and we can't dip below that.
'Now it's up to the pack to set a platform for the backs to operate well.'
Ireland are gunning for their seventh successive win against Scotland with victory also securing their third Triple Crown in four years.
Their RBS 6 Nations title hopes remain alive but they need unbeaten France to lose one of their two remaining games against England and Scotland.
The Twickenham showdown on Sunday appears their biggest hurdle but once again England have been blighted by injuries, among them Jonny Wilkinson and Phil Vickery, and Easterby knows the French will be desperate to win.
'England will be looking bounce back after the beating we gave them,' he said.
'Sometimes you don't know what French side will turn up on the day but they a pretty competitive side now.
'They'll be focused more on result than performance because it's all about winning at this stage.