Ringrose can give Schmidt extra edge
Leinster centre Garry Ringrose will look to his exemplary work on the fringes to give him the edge over Chris Farrell when Scotland come to Lansdowne Road on Saturday week.
It is a decision Joe Schmidt will not turn away from, if the Ireland coach is convinced Ringrose can make his side better.
In a ruthless business, Schmidt will have to consider whether Farrell's man-of-the-match performance against Wales makes him the man for the match against the repackaged and rejuvenated Scots.
The tremendous impact of Munster hitman Farrell against Wales was undeniable.
It is, however, at the edge of Ireland's defence that Italy and Wales exploited for six tries in two Six Nations matches.
Moreover, they have managed to do so on limited possession with Ireland completely dominating on both occasions.
"He looked comfortable in defence," said Leinter backs coach Girvan Dempsey about Ringrose's return against Southern Kings on Friday night.
"What we like in Garry is he marshals that defence in the wider channels and he reads the game so, so smartly.
It is Ringrose's capacity to communicate and operate within Andy Farrell's system that could cause his return.
"At thirteen, there is huge pressure on you because you are isolated and you've got to be able to connect with your wingers," said Dempsey.
"You are the link between those players in terms of the defensive width in your wider channels.
"There is a lot of onus on that player and Garry has been excellent for us."
It could come down to how Ringrose fares against Scarlets this weekend.