In a recent poll we asked visitors to IrishRugby.ie which player they thought would make the biggest breakthrough this season.
The four nominees were Leinster's Luke Fitgerald, Munster wideman Ian Dowling, Connacht hooker and captain John Fogarty and new Ulster prop Tom Court.
With 38% of the votes each, Fitzgerald and Dowling were rated as the favourites to make the biggest breakthrough. Dowling, who made his Munster debut in September 2005, has amassed 15 caps for Munster and hit a real streak of form in the latter half of last season to feature prominently in some Munster must-win games.
Fitzgerald, the young Leinster back, has certainly made a big impression in his first season having been called up to the Ireland training camp last month, and putting in some exciting performances in the Magners League.
The big test could come on Friday evening at Lansdowne Road if the two players with big futures go head-to-head as their provinces duel it out for league points.
Fogarty, who came in third with 15% of the votes, was also in the extended Ireland squad and with Jerry Flannery sidelined until the RBS 6 Nations, he may yet make an even bigger breakthrough.
Court, the summer signing for Ulster, who featured in the Ireland 'A' squad for last summer's Churchill Cup, was another member of the extended Ireland squad. While the Australian-born front row is little known yet in Ireland, his outings for Ulster have been promising and he could prove a useful acquisition in an area that Ireland will be seeking to develop understudies for John Hayes and Marcus Horan.
Check out the new Poll on IrishRugby.ie