Winger Denis Hickie believes Ireland are entering unknown territory when they face France in Dublin in the RBS 6 Nations.
The Irish are full of confidence after sweeping aside Scotland at Murrayfield and then Italy in Rome for an unbeaten start to their 2003 campaign.
Although many fans are already dreaming of a first Grand Slam since 1948, Leinster flyer Hickie knows the French will present a real challenge to Ireland's hopes at Lansdowne Road.
"It's going to be a very close game," he said.
"I suppose the fact we are playing at home as well as looking at our two results so far will mean people will give us a very good chance, but France are so far ahead of what we have played up to now that it's so hard to gauge how difficult it will be.
Hickie added: "It was very close for them against England when they were probably unlucky. If they had played as well as they did in the first 20 minutes and the last 20 minutes for the rest of the match, they would probably have beaten England.
"They are a very, very dangerous side and I hope people realise the magnitude of the challenge they present to us this weekend as opposed to the two games we have played so far."