Luke Marshall is relishing his return to the international rugby arena this weekend.
The Ballymena man makes his first start for Ireland in two years in Saturday’s opening Test against South Africa.
The Ulster centre was the 24th man during the Six Nations and won the last of his six caps in Argentina in 2014.
Marshall burst onto the international scene in the 2013 RBS Six Nations series but his appearances have been hampered by injury since then.
His last full international was on the tour of Argentina two years ago although he has remained in Schmidt’s plans and played for an experimental Ireland line-up against the Barbarians last year.
The Irish will face the Springboks in the First Test in Cape Town on 11 June with the sides meeting again over the following two weekends in Johannesburg and Port Elizabeth.
Meanwhile, another Ballymena man performing well in an Ireland shirt is Adam McBurney, who is taking part in the Under-20 World Championship.
The Cromkill man scored a try as Ireland produced a stunning comeback from a 17-point half-time deficit to beat Wales 26-25 in their opening game of the tournament.
Ireland take on the might of New Zealand in their next game, Manchester City Academy Stadium on Saturday.