5 February 2009, 4:22 pm
Ireland v France
Momentum is key to RBS 6 Nations success and Ireland will know after their Croke Park opener against France if they have genuine title ambitions.
The Irish have not beaten Les Bleus since 2003, a run of seven successive defeats that has done major damage to their championship ambitions.
Many of the side have never have been on the winning team against France and Declan Kidney has unsurprisingly stuck with the nation's tried and tested.
Paddy Wallace's inclusion at inside centre has added an air of excitement to the team, not least because of his sparkling form for Ulster in the number 12 jersey this season.
Rob Kearney has been restored to full-back, the position he excelled in during last year's championship, while Luke Fitzgerald moves to the left wing.
Kidney, overseeing his first RBS 6 Nations as Ireland head coach, has kept faith with the same pack that demolished the feared Pumas forwards during last autumn's 17-3 victory over Argentina.
France boss Marc Lievremont has been busier, tinkering with several areas of his team.
Castres scrum-half Sebastien Tillous-Borde partners Lionel Beauxis at half-back while in-form Toulouse team-mates Florian Fritz and Clement Poitrenaud have been recalled to the threequarters.
Maxime Medard moves to the wing in place of Cedric Heymans, who is on the bench, while number eight Imanol Harinordoquy comes in at the expense of Louis Picamoles.
Lievremont's erratic selection policy cost France heavily in last year's RBS 6 Nations and the latest raft of changes could play into Irish hands.