Rising young Ulster back row, Iain Henderson, will travel with the Irish team to Wales on Saturday.
Although not included on the bench in spite of two replacement appearances during the Autumn Test series against South Africa and Argentina, Irish coach Declan Kidney is keen for the youngest to develop.
With Sean O’Brien back to full fitness and Ireland having a competitive backrow it was always unlikely that Henderson would have been involved against Wales.
However, the 20-year-old will travel with the team in Cardiff.
Kidney said: “He will travel with us to get the experience of being in and around the Six Nations with the squad and he can give us cover should we need it.
“He has had a very mediocre rise and he has done well.
“He has been in and out of teams and probably needs to look at parts of his game. Iain knows which aspects of his game he has to develop.
“Iain can come across as quite laid back, but he is serious about his rugby and hopefully if we look after him right in the early stages he can have a very bright future.”
Meanwhile, Craig Gilroy’s ability to play on both wings may have contributed to his first Six Nations start.
Kidney said: “He has been playing well and his performance against the Barbarians on the right wing last year was well noted.
“He can acquit himself quite well on both sides, which is no easy task.
“It is the backs version of the propping, as the positions are different nuances.
“He has been playing well and deserves his chance.”