While he's hoping it doesn't happen any time soon, Hugo Keenan says he's well prepared for the eventual day when Andy Farrell wants to have a look at another full-back.

The Leinster man's position in the Ireland team isn't under threat. Far from it.

Since making his debut against Italy in October 2020 he's started every single game. 18 caps, all 18 of them starts. Four of them on the wing, 14 of them at full-back.

Out of the last 1440 minutes of rugby Ireland have played, Keenan's been on the pitch for all but 51 of them.

With those numbers behind him, he's about as nailed on for a place in the team as you can possibly be. However, he knows even if he's not 'dropped' in the traditional sense of the word, the looming World Cup in 2023 means that his head coach may want to see how someone else fares in the 15 jersey over the coming months.

"Yeah, if he was to come to me and say something, I suppose you'd naturally still be disappointed," Keenan said at an event for Energia earlier this week.

"You always want to play, you always want to keep your hand in the team and be involved and keep playing for your country.

"There's always going to be competition, there's always going to be people knocking on the door and there is at the moment so listen, if that happens it is what it is.

"But I'm hoping to go again (against Italy). I'm feeling good, we're back into camp tomorrow and looking forward to it."

In a quirk of the Covid times we live in, Saturday's defeat to France was the 25-year-old's first Test experience in front of a packed away crowd, with his previous five away games being played behind closed doors.

Irish rugby internationals Stacey Flood and Hugo Keenan have been unveiled as Energia's new rugby ambassadors. Energia is helping fans play their part and learn about how to be more environmentally conscious through its Ireland’s Greenest Fan campaign.

And he says that gentle introduction to the pressures of playing away from home has been hugely beneficial.

"Eighteen caps in, that was my first taste of what international rugby is really like away from home. It was straight into the deep end, wasn't it?

"It was very loud, that sort of party atmosphere there nearly. It’s a cool stadium, isn’t it?

"It’s a tough place to go. I don’t think there’s many tougher places at the moment with the French being in form and with that backing behind them. They obviously showed it in the autumn there beating New Zealand at home and then Italy last week, so it’s a tough one.

"That's probably the exciting bit now, we were only a few points away from beating the French who are probably the form side in world rugby at the moment and I don't think we played to our potential, and personally I feel I have more in me as well."

"It is more difficult, but it’s similar to playing in the Aviva, you get those sort of sound levels.

"I suppose I was lucky enough, well not lucky, but it probably helped me at the start of my Irish career that I was coming in with empty stadiums. It has probably eased me in with the whole pressure environment.

"It is a bit harder to hear and communicate but I suppose I’ve gotten used to that over the last year.

"It was a cool experience and that’s why you want to be playing rugby, to be playing in these matches and those sort of environments."

With the Six Nations on a break this weekend, Keenan is among the group of 23 who are taking part in a mini-camp today and yesterday, with thoughts now turning to their Round 3 meeting with Italy on 26 February at the Aviva Stadium.

Keenan is a glutton for punishment. Speaking on Wednesday morning he had already watched the French defeat back in full twice, and that's before the team would have had their official review in camp.

"I'm not going to lie, I was pretty gutted after the game, for many reasons; how it finished, we felt that there was more in us and that didn't play to our potential, and we got so close and it was a bit frustrating.

"So it was a bit of a bleak changing room after, I'm not going to lie, and it's been a tough couple of days.

"Sometimes you don't want the break, you just want to get straight into camp, you want to review it and get it over and done with so that you can take the learnings and feedback and move on.

"That's probably the exciting bit now, we were only a few points away from beating the French who are probably the form side in world rugby at the moment and I don't think we played to our potential, and personally I feel I have more in me as well.

"You just sort of have to review it, I've watched it back twice. Well I suppose if you don’t take these learnings and these experiences, how are you going to get better? How are you going to beat them the next time? That’s the beauty about losing, there is so much to learn from it."

Listen to the RTÉ Rugby podcast on Apple Podcasts, Soundcloud, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts.

Follow all of Ireland's Six Nations games via our live blogs on rte.ie/sport and on the RTÉ News App or listen to live radio coverage on RTÉ Radio 1. Highlights on Against the Head, Mondays, 8pm.