Ireland scrum-half John Cooney says he was not particularly disappointed to miss out on a starting place against Scotland because he sees himself in a "better position" than he was this time last year.
There had been a clamour in some quarters for Cooney to start the Six Nations opener ahead of long-time number nine incumbent Conor Murray.
But new Ireland head coach Andy Farrell chose Murray for Saturday's Scotland match, with Cooney coming off the bench in the second half.
The two rivals for the scrum-half role sat side-by-side on Monday's press conference and laughed off any notion of tension.
Asked whether he was disappointed at not getting the nod to start for Saturday, Cooney insisted that he did not see things that way.
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"No, it probably wasn't because I just saw I'm in a much better position than I was this time last year," he said.
"I probably got into the squad last year on the back of a couple of injuries.
"So for me, I just saw myself in a better position than I was in the summer or then.
"So whatever I facilitated for the team, it was important that coming on [I made an impact] - I hadn't subbed in too often this year with Ulster.
"It was just try and perform and ease into the team whenever I could and I was happy with the 20 minutes I got."
Murray added that Cooney has had an "unbelievable season" and that between themselves and the other scrum-half in the squad, Luke McGrath, "as a group of three, we're all working together".
But he admitted that competition from Cooney has given him more incentive to perform.
"At the weekend, it adds a little bit more motivation," he said.
"People start writing you off and naturally there was a bit of that there. But in our position, having a calm head is probably one of the most important things you can do.
"So trying to balance that was a challenge last weekend."