If you had said just one month ago that Dave Kearney should start ahead of Tommy Bowe for Ireland in the big games, people would have instantly dismissed it. But that's how quick things can change. A sudden loss of form from the Ulster wing, combined with Dave Kearney taking his game to new heights has seen the Louth man firmly entrenched in Schmidt's team.
Bowe is being given his chance to show what he can do against Romania tomorrow. It'll be his first appearance since a largely forgettable performance against England. We know that wasn't the best that Bowe can do, but there is a sense that he needs to find something quickly before he gets passed out in one of Ireland's deepest positions.
Schmidt is backing his winger to excel tomorrow:
He (Tommy) is really enthusiastic, he just wants to get his hands on the ball. He wants to get involved.
In some ways, this sounds very similar to a chairman giving his backing to a beleaguered manager - and we all know how that ends. It's not quite at that level for Bowe given his obvious quality, but there is no doubt that a performance of some substance is necessary to get more minutes at this tournament.
On Bowe's performance against England, Schmidt said that he thinks it's probably just a once-off:
We know the quality of player that Tommy is. I don’t think Tommy has suddenly lost any confidence about what he can deliver either, and what he has delivered for us this time last year in the Autumn internationals and through the Six Nations.
It's definitely the area that Ireland are most stacked, so the performances of Earls, Zebo, and especially Bowe will be the most scrutinised tomorrow.
Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE