Scott Johnson insists RBS 6 Nations Championship holders Wales have nothing to prove to a sceptical Welsh public when they begin life after Mike Ruddock in Dublin on Sunday.
Ruddock's departure as Wales coach sent shockwaves through the sport, and the fall-out is continuing.
Against that backdrop, caretaker boss Johnson must prepare his players for a game that promises to make or break Wales' RBS 6 Nations campaign.
Victory over Ireland at Lansdowne Road, a ground where Wales have not won since 2000, would keep alive hopes of retaining their title.
But defeat would effectively eliminate them from the race for silverware, leaving Johnson with a considerable task to salvage the campaign against Cardiff visitors Italy and France next month.
"I can't speak for the man in the street, and I don't know what has been written and said, neither do I really care," said Johnson.
"For the moment, my job is to put out a team I feel is representative of this country.
"I think for the tenure I have been here, I've seen the dark and light side of this team. I have seen them in their darkest hours and I have seen them in their greatest hours.
"This team doesn't have to prove anything to any fair-minded Welshman, because they have proved it.
"They are the hardest working bunch of people I have ever been involved with, so if anyone wants to say otherwise, they are coming from a position of ignorance rather than knowledge."
Johnson's preparations for his first match at the helm have been further hampered by the loss of inspirational captain Gareth Thomas, who is struggling to play again this season after damaging an artery in his neck.
Number eight Michael Owen has taken over as skipper, with Lee Byrne drafted in as full-back replacement for Thomas, while an injured Shane Williams is being replaced on the wing by Dafydd James.
"Gareth is a big player and he is a big loss," said Johnson. "We lost him last season and won a Grand Slam. He represents all that is good with the team, and that is why the aura of Alfie will always be around us."
James Haskell admits that his six-month lay-off with a toe injury has been the most frustrating period of his career and says he is still dealing with regular pain on his quest to return to full fitness.