Ireland prop Cian Healy is relishing the competition provided by Jack McGrath
Cian Healy says the form of Jack McGrath means he is having to hit new heights to retain his starting place for Ireland.
Last Updated: 12/11/13 5:02pm
The Leinster team-mates are separated by 39 international caps, but senior man Healy sees little difference in quality.
And the 26-year-old, who has represented Ireland on 40 occasions, has conceded fellow loosehead prop McGrath's arrival in Joe Schmidt's squad has caused him to step up his level once again.
"It's been great watching Jack because when he got included he just constantly plugged away and has been working on the finer details.
"He has constantly plugged at it, wants to learn and is always asking for stuff. When we are put together in the gym or we are with each other in scrummaging, we're tagging in and out.
"We are constantly learning off each other. It is not like I'm not learning anything off him as well. We are bouncing things off each other and what to do different weeks in and out.
"It's a nice little team we are getting up."
Confident the competition will keep sharpening him up, Healy said McGrath's man-of-the-match showing in the 40-9 victory over Samoa underlines his ability.
He added: "That competition is healthy. I'm hoping that is going to push me in my game as well and when there is someone that good around as well, you've got to be really on top form.
"If you slip up with how you are playing there is someone there to step in."
Healy had to sit out the summer's victorious British Lions tour of Australia with ankle ligament damage - just hours after being cleared of allegations of biting against Western Force.
But the Leinster front-rower insists he does not feel like he has any scores to settle as he lines up against the Wallabies this weekend.
"I'm not really counting the summer thing as anything," he continued. "It is always great to get to play against one of the Southern Hemisphere teams and they pose a big threat in the pack, the tackle and it's the type of game I like.
"It is usually a fast game, they are usually pretty hard hitting and I'm looking forward to it.
"I had to park all that (from the summer) and move on."
"Australia have a big pack, big fellas. They had a few good scrums against England so we are going to have to be pretty sharp not to be turned over there."