Ulster captain Rory Best has no fears over the ankle injury which sidelined him for a month ahead of Saturday's RBS 6 Nations clash with Italy at Croke Park.
The hooker damaged his ankle in Ulster's Magners League defeat to Leinster on December 26 but made a quicker than expected return in the province's Heineken Cup reversal at Gloucester last week.
Speaking at the Ireland team hotel in Killiney, he told irishrugby.ie: "The ankle feels fine. It was scary at the time because I didn't immediately know the extent of the injury.
"I got a good 60 minutes in against Gloucester and there were no complications afterwards. I've got through all of the training sessions (for Ireland) and I feel fine - ready to go."
With Munster's Jerry Flannery suspended, Best knows he is in a straight duel with a rejuvenated Bernard Jackman for Ireland's number two jersey.
"There is pretty intense competition for places in many positions, not least at hooker. Bernard has been a key figure for Leinster in the Heineken Cup and he's pushing everyone for recognition," he added.
The winner in that particular face-off will be confirmed on Tuesday afternoon when Eddie O'Sullivan announces his team and replacements for the tournament opener.
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