Injury ruled Robbie Henshaw out of Ireland's tour to Argentina but disappointment has been replaced by a sense of anticipation ahead of an important season for the youngster.
Henshaw is in the midst of a conversion from full-back to outside centre and with the legend that is Brian O'Driscoll finally hanging up his boots, the No.13 shirt is up for grabs.
Henshaw will have plenty of competition for that berth as the defending RBS 6 Nations champions are blessed with plenty of strength in depth.
But the man himself, who missed the tour to South America with a hand injury, cannot wait to get cracking into pre-season.
"I was absolutely gutted. I found out about four days beforehand and I was really gutted because I knew I was in with a good chance to play in the position and get used to Test rugby. Unfortunately it wasn't to be.
"I think I will have a bit of a jump on the lads on tour because I will have had a full pre-season. It can't all be negative.
"The last 12 months have gone really well. With Connacht I have started playing more at 13, whereas I got my first cap at 15.
"My second cap I came on at 13 against Canada and I have been playing a lot more at 13 this year. I feel I have developed a lot under Joe Schmidt and Brian O'Driscoll.
"There is an opportunity there so it was good to give it a shot. I quite like the position because of the physicality - you will see me a lot more at Connacht next year playing at 13.
"It is not just because of the vacancy there and the opportunity, but it is a pivotal position to be chosen in to play. It is just about making big strides now."
Round three of the RBS 6 Nations will decide whether teams are challenging for the title or in a scrap to finish in the top half. Never will that be more obvious than in Dublin on Saturday, when Ireland host France.