Trimble eager to prolong his stay in the last chance saloon
When Andrew Trimble was left out of Joe Schmidt's Ireland squad for the November series, the Ulster winger thought his days in a green jersey were numbered.
Three months on, he has already become someone who the Kiwi boss clearly trusts. With a crop of younger wingers coming through, he was as surprised as anyone to get a call up to the Six Nations squad.
"Before the Scotland game, I didn't expect to get picked," he said. "We all knew when Joe came in there'd be changes but I didn't see it coming."
Now that Trimble has forced himself back into the set-up, he feels more at home than he has ever done before. November is already a distant memory for the 29-year-old but he doesn't want to go back to the days of being on the fringes.
Asked whether he felt that his selection was a case of last chance saloon in terms of his Ireland career, he pulled no punches.
"I don't want to be too dramatic but there was a little bit of that. I'm fed up going into camp and underperforming in a green shirt compared to how I feel like I'm performing in a white shirt.
"I need to go out on the pitch and not be as concerned about things as I probably have been in the past. The dressing-room is an exciting place to be at the moment. To be performing well makes me feel more a part of it."
Being drafted in and out of Ireland squads was something that he had to grow accustomed to but this time it feels different. He finally believes that he belongs at this level.
"I felt like I had nothing to lose. I've been in and out over the years and I'm getting to the point now where most of my competition for places are younger than me.
"The wing is probably a lot more competitive than other positions. When you get a chance you just have to take it and I think I've done that in the last two games."
As Ireland gear up for a raucous reception at Twickenham, Trimble knows what to expect. For the younger guys like Dave Kearney, it will be a whole new experience and he maintains that their solid relationship on and off the pitch has benefited the team.
Although he says that the relationship is not affected by the age gap, Trimble's seniority is another new role that he is adjusting to.
"I feel like I've settled in nicely and am being myself. Being myself doesn't necessarily mean I'm going to be a loud voice in the changing room or on the training pitch. I don't think that really suits me," he says.
The England back three will pose a different threat to Wales, but Trimble is ready to meet the challenge head on and will again let his performance do the talking.