Bernard Jackman is backing Andrew Porter to come through a real baptism of fire in Saturday’s NatWest 6 Nations clash with Wales at the Aviva Stadium.
With Tadhg Furlong, who Jackman rates as the best tight-head prop in the world, out injured Porter gets his first Championship start having had 76 minutes as Furlong's replacement against Italy a fortnight ago.
He’ll be up against the experienced Rob Evans in the Welsh front row and is likely to be put under pressure from the off as the visitors to Dublin look to exploit any weaknesses they can find.
"Man-for-man, Andrew Porter will be fine against Rob Evans," said former Ireland front row Jackman, speaking to RTÉ Game on.
"It’s just the knowledge and understanding that the Wales front-row have together. Ireland’s scrummaging form has been decent, particularly against Italy, but Italy got pushed around by England and Wales got on top of England.
"I think Andrew Porter is very well drilled, incredibly strong, but potentially this weekend he’s going to be feeling a force and a pressure at an angle that he’s not experienced before.
"Props need to learn a job and the fact is he’s only played a handful of games at tighthead for Leinster.
"He’s stepped up to the mark every opportunity he has got so far, around the pitch he’s phenomenal and this will be a litmus test of how far he has come."
Jackman will also be interested to see how the Ireland attack fares at the weekend following two very different performances in the Six Nations to date.
Joe Schmidt’s side barely threatened a try in the narrow win over France and then a week later tore Italy apart, crossing the whitewash on no less than eight occasions.
"We’ll see early in the game how ambitious we are going to be in terms of our attack," said Jackman.
"We know that Ireland are able to rack up massive scores against Italy because of the way they defend, but the last real test for Ireland was France in round one.
"Are we going to be able to test this Welsh defence, that is incredibly well drilled by Sean Edwards, who is a very shrewd, experienced operators in both codes (union and league), and he’ll have come up with a plan he believes will stop Ireland?"
Ireland have won both of their games to date, leaving them on track still for a Championship decider against England in Twickenham on St Patrick’s Day.
Wales have beaten Scotland and lost to England, though they went down fighting, and since then they have welcomed several experienced players back into their line-up following injury, including Liam Williams, Dan Biggar and Leigh Halfpenny.
Follow Ireland v Wales on Saturday (KO 2.15pm) via the live blog on RTÉ.ie/Sport and the News Now App, or listen live on RTÉ Radio 1, with commentary from Michael Corcoran and Donal Lenihan.