Ireland boss Eddie O'Sullivan has demanded his side live up to the reputation established in the autumn when their RBS 6 Nations campaign opens against Wales.
The Irish toppled South Africa and Australia on successive weekends in November, heightening expectations their 22-year wait for championship glory might finally be over.
A tricky first hurdle awaits in Cardiff on Sunday when the Triple Crown holders' title credentials will be thoroughly examined and O'Sullivan insists they must justify the plaudits.
'I suppose you prefer to be favourites but it's a notional thing and a reflection of where the team is given its recent performances,' said the Ireland head coach.
'It's a nice accolade but it can bite you in the ass more often than not if you pay too much attention to it.
'We know there's a certain amount of expectation which is fair and it's a lot better than the expectations we had 12 months ago.
'But what goes with that is a responsibility to continue with the level of performances that earned that reputation. We have to put five performances together.'
Wales were unexpected winners of the 2005 Six Nations, completing their ninth Grand Slam in the process.
But while O'Sullivan has admitted his side are better equipped to win the championship than two years ago when they were last given the favourites tag, he insists luck will play a crucial role.
'This a better Irish team on a number of fronts. If everyone is healthy, we now have a deeper squad,' said the Ireland coach.
'There's a lot more maturity in key positions, there's more leadership on the field and there's also a better sense of what we're trying to do as a team.
'Two years on, we're a more skilful side. If you analyse all of that, we are a better team than in 2005.'
'But to win you need a slice of luck. Wales would say when they won Grand Slam they got a slice of luck.
'It's all a pretty open affair and it's getting more open every year. Nobody would put their mortgage on a Grand Slam.
'You may talk about it but not many are sticking their hands in their pocket.'