Wales will begin life after Martyn Williams on Saturday - and his immediate successor has been backed to deliver the goods.
Flanker Williams, arguably Wales’ most consistent player of recent seasons, called time on his 76-cap Test career after the World Cup.
It means Wales have a huge void to fill in the number seven shirt, and first chance against world champions South Africa this weekend falls to Williams’ Cardiff Blues colleague Robin Sowden-Taylor.
The 25-year-old has just four caps to his name, but having made a full recovery from a severe ankle fracture that decimated last season for him, he can now set about relaunching an international career that promises big things.
Wales caretaker coach Nigel Davies said: “We have watched Robin since we came back from the World Cup.
“I think he has played very well. He is a specialist openside flanker, and in the type of game we want to play, he will give us everything that we want.
“I have already spoken to Robin and he knows what we expect of him. He is comfortable with that.”
Sowden-Taylor will not be the only player looking to make an impression this weekend – especially with New Zealander Warren Gatland being just 10 days away from starting work as Wales’ new head coach.
Centre Gavin Henson is another, having been recalled for only his second Wales start since the 2005 RBS 6 Nations Grand Slam-clinching victory over Ireland.
A lengthy suspension was followed by injury before further question marks surrounding Henson’s fitness meant former Wales coach Gareth Jenkins overlooked him for the 2007 World Cup campaign.
Davies added: “I saw Gavin play at Kingsholm for the Ospreys against Gloucester last Friday.
“It was a very intense environment – one of the most intense environments at club or regional level, and close to the international arena – and he performed very well.
“That ultimately convinced me.
“Another factor is there is a midfield trio who have played consistently together for the Ospreys, so they have a great understanding, which definitely helps.
“We have had a limited time to prepare this team, so these are the considerations that come into that.”
Henson’s Ospreys colleagues – fly-half James Hook and outside centre Sonny Parker – will feature either side of him at the Millennium Stadium.
Hook’s appearance in the number 10 shirt means 66-cap former Wales captain Stephen Jones moves to the bench.
But Davies’ most contentious decision undoubtedly surrounds Cardiff Blues centre Tom Shanklin, who misses out behind Parker and starts on the wing instead of an injured Shane Williams.
Llanelli Scarlets full-back Morgan Stoddart makes his Test debut – injury meant Ospreys’ Lee Byrne was not considered – and there is also significant interest surrounding the selection of 25-year-old Newport Gwent Dragons tighthead prop Rhys Thomas.
Johannesburg-born Thomas will play against the land of his birth – a path already trodden by England’s South Africa-born tighthead Matt Stevens – and his third cap sees him filling a position possibly up for grabs in the long term.
Davies said: “In many ways, this is the start of a new era.
“It is definitely a new-look team, but more importantly we have to become accustomed to winning, and what better way to start than by beating the world champions.
“Winning is a habit. We have to stop thinking we can’t win and start believing that we can.”