Ireland's first match of the 2007 RBS 6 Nations will be a brutal contest. There's an awful lot to play for. It will be the start for two of the teams who have the potential to win the championship.
The Irish require huge composure from the start. They can't afford to slip up at any stage if they are going to challenge for the Six Nations trophy. It's key that their big players step up to the mark straight away.
Ireland's major players will be the usual suspects: Brian O'Driscoll, Paul O'Connell, Denis Leamy and Ronan O'Gara, who is having a very fine season.
There are any amount of guys who could make a name for themselves on the back of injuries. Ulster wing Andrew Trimble is looking very strong and could have a big influence in place of the Shane Horgan who has a knee problem.
There are other younger guys hanging round on the periphery. It just depends if they get a chance.
There will be a key battle at fly-half between Ronan O'Gara and Wales' captain Stephen Jones. Also in the back row contest between Denis Leamy and Wales No 8 Ryan Jones will be important.
Ireland have a slight concern at hooker with the injuries to Frankie Sheahan and Rory Best. Jerry Flannery has not played a lot of rugby recently but he seems to have the mental strength to go out and play anyway.
He may not be playing at full tilt but he would do a very good job and his fitness would grow over the course of the tournament.