Ireland skipper Brian O'Driscoll has pleaded with fans not to expect a repeat of last year's RBS 6 Nations heroics from fellow centre Gordon D'Arcy.
O'Driscoll and D'Arcy will form the Irish midfield for Sunday's clash with Italy in a partnership that is being seen in some quarters as the most like centre duo for the British Lions' Test line-up.
As one of the most dangerous backs in the world, O'Driscoll's place against the All Blacks this summer is assured, but D'Arcy has much to prove after setting last season's Six Nations alight.
The 24-year-old took centre stage last season when he replaced his injured Leinster team-mate for the opener against France, doing such an outstanding job that he retained the number 13 jersey ahead of his captain.
O'Driscoll was forced to play at inside centre when he returned to fitness and found himself overshadowed by D'Arcy, who continued to earn rave reviews before being crowned player of the tournament.
Now the pressure is on for D'Arcy - who has been restricted by injury to a solitary international appearance since the 2004 Six Nations - to prove his blistering form was not just a one-off.
It is a challenge that O'Driscoll believes Ireland's current inside centre has the talent to meet - provided he is not overburdened by the weight of expectation.
"It's going to be a new challenge for D'Arcy this time around. The players who have completed a full Six Nations season and have done well are going to be watched," he said.
"But I don't buy into this second season syndrome - I know D'Arcy too well and he wants to succeed so much. Don't expect the miracles of last year but watch out for the breaks, the basics being done properly and a good solid defence.
"He's an exciting runner going forward - there won't be too much change in his game in that respect. Even if defenders do try and close his space down he's such a talented footballer he'll still find a way through.
"There's not going to be a huge difference to his game. There's certainly a lot of expectation on him, but much of that will come from himself."
In the likes of D'Arcy and O'Driscoll, Ireland have the most exciting backline in the Six Nations and they will need to be firing if the nation's 57-year wait for a second Grand Slam title is to end.
Ireland's quest has been made easier by the knowledge that England and France must travel to Lansdowne Road, but a tournament clean sweep is still a big ask of Eddie O'Sullivan's Triple Crown holders.
O'Driscoll added: "It is extremely hard to win the tournament itself, but to beat all the other sides in the process is some feet. We can't get carried away with what's been said in the media."
Peter O'Mahony was named man of the match against England last month
21 April 2017, 7:22pm
Peter O'Mahony's performance in the RBS 6 Nations finale for Ireland against England was crucial to his selection for the British & Irish Lions on Wednesday, Ireland and Lions defence coach Andy Farrell has revealed.