Leinster’s Brian O’Driscoll believes Ireland are in the hunt for the RBS 6Nations title.
The men from the Emerald Isle have been installed third favourites for the Championship leading to England coach and fellow Lion Martin Johnson claiming Ireland could slip under the radar.
And despite Ireland's recent mixed form, O'Driscoll, who has racked up 62 Magners League appearances scoring almost 100 points, reckons his side are primed for the Six Nations.
"If you're going on recent form I don't know how much under the radar we've managed to slip," said O'Driscoll.
"We had a reasonable November series – we won two and lost two. Plenty of other sides did better than us but we're quietly confident that if we get our game together we'll be in the hunt in some capacity.
"But I haven't really thought about slipping under any radar or about any other side that has done likewise. We're just plodding along like we always do, working hard."
Ireland open their Six Nations campaign against Italy next Saturday and the three-tour Lion admits he enjoys making the trip to Rome.
"More often than not we've been fortunate to have good conditions in Italy," added O'Driscoll.
"The players thrive on the sun shining and there's usually a freshness to playing in February or March.
"Players do enjoy it there – it's a good atmosphere in the stadium. There are worse places to play rugby internationals than Rome."