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.
England flanker James Haskell insists he will be pushing as hard as possible to be back from a toe injury in time to make his case for a spot in Eddie Jones' side looking to defend their RBS 6 Nations title next year.