Ireland number eight Jamie Heaslip believes his team are moving in the right direction, despite winning just one of their four Six Nations matches.
On Saturday, Ireland will battle it out with Scotland in Dublin for third place on the table but Heaslip feels his team are within touching distance of England who travel to Paris in a bid to win their first Grand Slam since 2003.
Heaslip, who scored a brace of tries in his side's 58-15 victory against Italy, feels performance – not results – is the important factor in Ireland's development at the moment.
"This may sound weird, but I wouldn't be too worried about the outcome," he told the Six Nations' official website.
"I'd be more worried about areas that we could improve on.
"You go into everything wanting to win it, you do. But when you don't, you are still representing a lot.
"So it's not a case of, we can't win it, so we go 'right, I'm done'. We still have the chance to play at home, in front of a full crowd, wearing the jersey.
"Yes, you might say, we're not happy for the fact we are not playing for the Championship. But you have got to park that. We'll come back after the competition and look at the bigger picture."
Although England have already won the tournament with a round to spare, Heaslip feels they had to work hard for the title.
"Granted, England have won it, but I think there hasn't been much in a lot of the games," he added.
"I know England have the four out of four wins and are going for the Grand Slam, but not all those games have been easy for them.
"I think they got a bit of a shock there at the weekend with the comeback from Wales. France will definitely be licking their lips at the opportunity."