Dan Tuohy is hopeful that this year’s success with Ulster will see him return to the Ireland fold ahead of a summer tour of New Zealand.
The 26-year-old was forced to watch from the sidelines as Declan Kidney’s charges spluttered to a third-place finish at the RBS 6 Nations, his last appearance for the national side coming in a loss to Australia in June 2010.
But he has gone a fair way to putting this disappointment behind him, helping Ulster down RaboDirect PRO12 rivals Munster at the weekend to help his club reach a Heineken Cup semi-final for the first time since they won the competition in 1999.
And Tuohy has his sights set on two pieces of silverware this season with fifth-place Ulster looking to navigate a way past provincial rivals Leinster and Munster to secure a RaboDirect PRO12 semi-final spot.
And with Ireland set for a summer tour of New Zealand in June, Tuohy is hoping his club success will make Kidney sit up and take notice.
“On a personal level, the Irish qualified guys that are on the fringes, it’s important for them to stake their claim for the tour,” Tuohy, who has two Ireland caps to his name, told the Irish Examiner.
“I just hope that in the next few games I can convince the powers that be that I’m worth a place on the tour.
“Ireland put a lot of stock in the success of the provinces. If we start bringing in some silverware, I believe the tide will turn and you might see a few more Ulster faces in that tour.
“I don’t think the pecking order has changed. One win won’t change that. We need to be beating Munster and Leinster consistently if we want to change the pecking order.”