Cian Healy is hoping to “brush aside” thoughts of his 100th cap and instead place all his focus on helping Ireland secure the Guinness Six Nations title on Super Saturday.
The loosehead prop will bring up his century in Paris having been named in Andy Farrell’s starting XV and, while Healy’s pride is clear, his primary aim is returning to Dublin with silverware.
“It will obviously be something quite special to myself and my family, and people around me,” Healy said.
“I’m trying to pass it off and not have anything like that hang over me.
“There’s something much bigger than an individual merit to play for. I’m trying to brush it aside a bit at the moment and go towards that bigger thing.
“It’s an opportunity to win a medal, win a trophy and play with the lads. That’s the goal.”
Healy made his Ireland bow as a 22-year-old against Australia at Croke Park in November 2009, with the venue making it a particularly special occasion for a player who grew up close to the stadium.
“It was kind of class to play in Croker,” he said.
“We’d such a team out there, there was a lot of big names in that team. That kind of shocked me a bit, but I was cocky and confident in myself and young.
“I got slagged a bit for it, but I think if you have a bit of that confidence it goes a long way.
“I remember Paulie (Paul O’Connell) tapped me down a ball off a kick-off. That was probably my one outstanding memory from that game. I got a little bit of a run off it.”
Since those early steps into the international arena, Healy has established himself as one of Ireland’s finest front-rowers.
He has won three Championship titles, coming back from a serious neck injury in 2015 to restore his place in the side, and knows his team will have to be at their best if he is to earn a fourth this weekend.
“You need to score a lot of tries to beat this French team,” he said.
“They’re an unbelievable outfit as we saw the other night (against Wales). It’s an exciting fixture ahead and I think everyone is looking forward to it.”
Ireland have their fate in their own hands ahead of their visit to the Stade de France and know a bonus-point victory would be enough to secure their second crown in three years.
They play last on Super Saturday, therefore ensuring they will know what margin of victory would be required should England beat Italy earlier in the day.
And with plenty of strength in depth within the Ireland squad, Healy and his teammates are straining every sinew to ensure they are as well prepared as possible going into the weekend.
“Training is hotly-contested. It’s all out,” he said.
“(Wednesday) will be a physical session and everyone will have a right crack at it.
“We’re pushing each other and there’s no set group going into lineouts or back plays. It’s completely intertwined.
“We go over with an unbelievably tough challenge, but it’s something that this group are hugely capable of and I think it’s something that will be needed.”