British Lions centre Brian O'Driscoll is primed to make his return against Wales next weekend as Ireland bid to land their first victory of the 2004 RBS 6 Nations championship.
Ireland opened their campaign with a 35-17 reverse to France - a scoreline which does not reflect a brave Irish performance which witnessed the odd flash of brilliance.
O'Driscoll was one of six absentees at the Stade de France following his failure to recover from a hamstring injury, but Ireland coach Eddie O'Sullivan revealed he should be back in action against Wales on February 22.
He said: "I'm confident that Brian O'Driscoll will play. He's had five days of rehab since he cried off on Tuesday. He was chomping at the bit but he just wasn't right. I'm very hopeful for next Sunday.
"But I've learnt from experience that you can get a player with this type of injury 90% fit in five days - and then it takes another five days to get that last 10%.
After Ireland's heroic big-game hunt of the Springboks and Scotland's six-try runaround of the Pumas, the challenge of engineering the most spectacular win of the autumn series now falls on Wales, writes Peter Jackson.