IT has not been easy for Ireland wing Craig Gilroy to sit idly by and watch Fergus McFadden wear the jersey that was his so recently.
"Obviously, you want Ireland to win. But there is someone in your place. It is a funny one. There is a contradiction there," said Gilroy.
"You always want to be in there. You want to play in that position. You want to do better than that person in that position."
It was Ireland coach Declan Kidney who gave the green jersey to Gilroy in November. It has also been the inconsistency of Kidney's decisions that has led to suffering for some; rapture for others. For every cap denied, there is always one offered.
The captaincy has gone from Brian O'Driscoll. Dave Kilcoyne was left to stew when Tom Court was brought in over his head against Scotland.
Ronan O'Gara was treated with less respect than he has earned in the way Kidney pushed Paddy Jackson forward against Scotland too.
All of these decisions must lead everyone to feel no one is safe from the sharp edge of the axe.
The other end of the argument has benefited those waiting in the wings.
Paddy Jackson, Luke Marshall and Craig Gilroy are three Ulstermen who must hold nothing but the highest regard for Kidney.
Where others have fallen, they have risen to international status. Gilroy was not able to put his hand up against France. He was for the team selection this afternoon against Italy.
"I worked hard the last week-and-a-half and did a lot of rehab with the physios. I didn't think I would be involved this week. But, I did everything, took contact today and I felt really good.
"I would love to be involved at the weekend. I'm buzzing to be back."
Gilroy is philosophical about the Six Nations.
"This is my first Six Nations campaign. I don't really know any different, if that makes sense," he said.
"It is not like a dark place in camp. Everyone is still there and still together. I don't think it has gone as well as we would like to," he said.
"I just think there have been the few games we lost that we should've won and we had the draw there against France. We just want to finish on a high, go over to Rome and get a win."
Gilroy has taken the advice of Tommy Bowe and has received the support of Ireland's senior backs Rob Kearney and O'Driscoll, as well as sound instruction from Heaslip.
"You have a couple of senior players there, Rob and, obviously, Brian. Jamie has been a good captain. Those guys take the onus on themselves to step forward and do a good job."
The former Royal School Dungannon strike runner has been able to absorb the increased demands on all aspects of the game at international level, except, perhaps, in the duty of defence.
"It is a higher intensity. There are bigger impacts. There is so much more than Rabo' or even Heineken. As a result, there have been loads of injuries. Having said that, I do think it has been freakish with the amount of injuries. It is pretty crazy.
"I benefited myself in November from the injuries. It gives other guys opportunities to come in, get capped, get some game time.
"There is a lot of pressure. There is just so much more involved. It is a world stage. Everyone wants to star. Everyone wants to do well.
"It is intensified. It is harder. It is faster."