Former Ireland hooker Bernard Jackman says that the zero positive Covid-19 results from the second round of testing at Connacht and Ulster is a major step towards Irish rugby being given the green light to return to action on August 22.
But Jackman, who played 91 times for Leinster as well as winning nine international caps, insists that the positive results in English rugby and football are a warning for how precarious the current situation remains.
In total, 149 players and staff were tested in Connacht and Ulster, which brought Irish rugby's total number of negative test results to 407.
Leinster and Munster will return to training on Monday following short breaks, before they undergo their second round of testing.
Irish rugby is working towards a restart date of August 22 with Leinster set to take on Munster, and Connacht going up against Ulster at the Aviva the following day.
The latest test results mean Connacht and Ulster have been cleared to enter a graduated return to contact training.
"It's massive," said Jackman, who has also been encouraged by what he has seen in his coaching role at Bective.
"It's a credit to the players and management in terms of how they are looking after themselves and how strict they are being in terms of social distancing inside and outside the environment.
"When you look at some of the cases in the UK with players in both Premiership rugby and football, they are a lot higher.
"Fingers crossed, it stays the same in Ireland and we get games played in August. The players are really setting an example for what can be done."