Leinster head coach Joe Schmidt insists that the club must establish a regular backup to their second-choice number ten Ian Madigan before the RaboDirect PRO12 gets into full swing.
Madigan played 26 games for the province last season but still found himself operating in the shadow of Jonathan Sexton on the big occasions.
But in deputising for the Irish international, Madigan earned his Leinster stripes and Schmidt handed the 23-year-old the starting shirt for the club's pre-season fixture against Gloucester on Saturday.
Madigan didn’t disappoint, scoring 13 points in a 33-22 victory in Dublin – highlighting the need for a ready replacement should injury strike while Sexton is on international duty.
And Schmidt has picked New Zealander Andrew Goodman and Noel Reid, who played inside centre on Saturday, as the two players currently vying for the third slot in his number ten pecking order.
"Ian earned his opportunity to have first crack at the jersey based on his performances last year," Schmidt told the Evening Herald.
"He wasn't just pretty consistent for us, he was very durable as well for a young man who invariably gets involved in a bit of contact work during the game.
"He bounced back week-to-week really well.
"We have limitations around how many times we can utilise Jonathan Sexton. Ian Madigan was involved in 30-odd games last year, we have to balance that with his workload.
"That is why Andrew Goodman and Noel Reid will be able to share the workload there."