Brian O'Driscoll has urged Ireland's fringe players to make their presence felt at the World Cup.
Luke Fitzgerald and Tomas O'Leary were the two big-name casualties when coach Declan Kidney named his squad for New Zealand on Monday. Scrum-half Conor Murray and wing/centre Fergus McFadden, both rookies, are two of the players who are initially expected to offer cover but could force their way into the Test team.
"It's very disappointing for Luke and for a number of other guys who would love to have been involved, but it shows the strength and the quality of our squad," said the captain. "The people who have been included will be delighted and now for them it's about pushing for a first XV place. That's the mentality we need to have at the World Cup to make it a success."
O'Driscoll marvels at the conditioning of Leinster team-mate McFadden and insists he will be keen to challenge Tommy Bowe, Andrew Trimble and Keith Earls for one of the wing spots.
"Fergus brings great energy," added O'Driscoll.
"He's a strange one in that he can take four weeks off training but blow everyone away in pre-season when he comes back.
"He's probably one of the fittest guys I know. It seems unfair that he doesn't have to work on it like some of us.
"He's a great personality who works off the ball a huge amount and is very selfless.
"He won't be happy with just making the squad. He's delighted to be involved but he'll want to start. The work has just begun for him."
Ireland face England on Saturday in the last of their World Cup warm-up internationals.