Ireland's Peter Stringer has welcomed the availability of rival scrum-halves Rob Howley and Bryan Redpath for next summer's Lions tour.
Lions boss Sir Clive Woodward revealed earlier this month that he would be happy to select players who no longer compete in the Test arena for the trip to New Zealand.
Former Wales skipper Howley made it known last season he would relish the chance to pull on the fabled red jersey once again and his form for Wasps suggests he would be a valuable addition to the squad.
He will have hit 34 when the tour departs and boasts a wealth of experience, not least with the Lions after winning places on the last two tours to Australia and South Africa, starting all three Tests against the Wallabies.
Redpath has never represented the cream of British Isles rugby but a good season for Sale could catapult the ex-Scotland captain into the reckoning.
And Stringer - a veteran international who will figure heavily in Woodward's thinking - intends to meet their challenge head on.
"There are a lot of guys who will be in the running - including Rob and Bryan - and they're all playing well," said the 26-year-old Munster back.
"But competition is good - it's what you need to drive you on. Your performances improve knowing that there is pressure.
"It's every player's ambition to be selected for the Lions. A lot can happen in a year but it's there in the back of your mind.
"It's something to aim for when you're setting your goals at the start of the season."
Stringer's Lions dream will be enhanced by Ireland's recent success with Eddie O'Sullivan's men finishing second in the RBS 6 Nations championship for the last two years.
The recent tour to South Africa blotted the copybook somewhat - Ireland tasted defeat in both Tests - but Stringer is playing for a national side with real ambition.
"We've lost just once in the Six Nations for the previous two seasons. Our next aim is to go undefeated - that's the challenge we've set ourselves and it's realistic," he said.
"We want to win the Six Nations and I believe we have the quality to do it. We're a lot more professional now and set our standards much higher.
"We're called up on a lot more training camps and we're no longer just meeting up before the Six Nations. That has helped enormously."
The Springboks triumphed 31-17 and 26-17 on home soil last month and Stringer admits those results were a bitter pill to swallow following Ireland's Triple Crown success.
"We were looking forward to the South Africa games and thought we could come away with a Test win. It didn't turn out like that - they're a much improved side and the future is looking good for them," he said.
"We didn't play to the standard that we set during the Six Nations. Maybe we felt it would automatically come together when we met up again but it doesn't work like that.
"We went down there full of confidence but it wasn't to be. Both matches were close but we didn't play well enough to win."
As head coach Stuart Lancaster polishes the axe he will soon wield over his World Cup training squad, Exeter Chiefs coach Rob Baxter has backed Jack Nowell, Henry Slade and Luke Cowan-Dickie to be given a stay of execution.
Italy Under-20s held off a late Samoa blitz to retain their place in the World Rugby U20 Championship on Saturday and head coach Alessandro Troncon believes the experience will have served as a valuable lesson for his young troops.