Ireland's interim coach Michael Bradley has reminded his squad their summer tour could have an impact on their passage through the next World Cup.
Tournament chiefs have opted to use the IRB world rankings to seed teams for the 2011 pool draw, which will be held in December.
Ireland are ranked eighth in the world and have five Tests between now and the cut-off point, with the summer tour to New Zealand and Australia providing the most challenging games.
With Fiji and Scotland snapping at their heals in ninth and 10th respectively, Ireland have much to lose from a gruelling schedule over the coming six months.
Bradley said: "New Zealand is a undoubtedly one of the most challenging places to tour and to win test matches.
"After that we have a game against an Australian side that will have the fresh input of a new coach and are always among the top sides in the world.
"We are travelling on the tour with a strong squad, conscious of the fact that IRB world ranking points are available and that is what we are playing for."
Ireland's chances of causing a huge upset against the All Blacks or Wallabies have been hit by the news Andrew Trimble will not travel.
Trimble has been troubled by a groin and knee injury since the World Cup and Ulster have decided the 23-year-old requires rehabilitation.
An Ulster spokeswoman said: "Andrew has been carrying a groin and knee injury since the World Cup and will be rested.
"The injury needs managing so it's been decided that he will undertake a period of rehabilitation during the summer."
The loss of Trimble has left Ireland short of options in midfield following Gordon D'Arcy's withdrawal earlier in the week.
D'Arcy was forced to undergo further surgery on the broken arm he sustained in February's RBS 6 Nations opener against Italy and has been ruled out.
That leaves skipper Brian O'Driscoll as the only dedicated centre, although his Leinster team-mate Shane Horgan has Test experience in the number 12 jersey.
Bradley, who is overseeing the tour before new boss Declan Kidney takes over upon completion, has named an initial 37-strong squad that will be whittled down to 30 after facing the Barbarians on May 27.
Munster face Toulouse in the European Cup final three days before the Barbarians fixture and their players will join the touring party after the Kingsholm tune-up.