Unlike other teams, Ireland's success may depend on most of our players staying fit. We've got good strength in depth but not unbelievable player resources.
We really need to hope that there aren't problems in the front row. John Hayes is far and away the best tighthead prop in the country and we would struggle without him. And while we can probably afford injuries in the second row, we wouldn't really want Anthony Foley to get injured - he's a very important man.
Similarly, Peter Stringer and Ronan O'Gara are crucial at half-back. You not only don't want those two to get injured, you really want them playing to the top of their game. The last year has seen O'Gara edge ahead of David Humphreys at fly-half, mainly because he seems to be more secure, intelligent and experienced now. But I also think it's very natural to be playing him when he's the guy that from an age point of view is going to be around for the next World Cup.
It'll also be very interesting to see how Gordon D'Arcy gets on this year. He'd been around forever and he never really had a go in the side but he did last year and was sensational, and it's now about how he backs that up. He won't be such an unknown quantity this time round. That doesn't mean he won't play really well because he's still an excellent player, and even when people are marking him and guarding him he still has the skills to unlock defences. But it'll be fascinating to see how he reacts to the level of expectation that goes with the manner in which he played last year. The opposition will certainly target him - if they're doing their jobs properly!
This championship should see Malcolm O'Kelly become Ireland's most-capped player and he's played incredibly well for such a long period of time. You may have thought a couple of years ago that Donnacha O'Callaghan would be close to pushing Malcolm out of the team but that now couldn't be an option because Malcolm has been playing the best rugby of his career.
Shane Byrne has also played very well in my old position. I never thought I was irreplaceable as hooker - nobody's irreplaceable. In fact, Shane may even find himself under a bit of pressure now because Frankie Sheahan is playing some brilliant rugby and he will certainly make it more of a contest.
There are also a few others who are pushing to get into the team. I'd like to see Marcus Horan have a run and I think Reggie Corrigan has been playing very well. It will be interesting to see if Marcus comes in for a few games how he'll cope in the role.
Look out too for Tommy Bowe from Ulster, who is knocking on the door as is Denis Leamy from Munster, two definite stars of the future and - who knows - maybe even the present.