Wales head to Lansdowne Road desperate to keep their RBS 6 Nations Championship defence alive - but after a chaotic fortnight they do so without Grand Slam-winning head coach Mike Ruddock and captain Gareth Thomas.
Ruddock quit on Valentine's night for ''family reasons'', while Thomas was admitted to hospital and ruled out for up to 12 weeks with a damaged artery in his neck.
Amidst all that upheaval, caretaker coach Scott Johnson - heading into his first Test in sole charge - recalled Gavin Henson into the squad. With just one game under his belt since serving a 51-day ban, the 24-year-old is named on the bench.
Lee Byrne replaces Thomas to start at full-back and Dafydd James returns to the wing in place of Shane Williams (dead leg).
Recent events suggest Wales will limp into Dublin a demoralised outfit but Ireland coach Eddie O'Sullivan predicts the opposite.
''There's always a reaction from any team that has gone through a trauma such as a change of coach or a run of losses. It usually galvanises the team and pulls them together,'' he said.
Ireland, meanwhile, have issues of their own to deal with as they look to rebound from a topsy-turvy performance in the 43-31 defeat to France a fortnight ago.
Ireland gifted Les Bleus a 43-3 lead before cutting loose and scoring four quickfire tries in the final 20 minutes.
''If we cut out handing those tries away to any side I think we are going to give them a good game, particularly with the way we know we played in the second half against France,'' said skipper Brian O'Driscoll.
Ireland have replaced Paul O'Connell (shoulder) with British & Irish Lions tourist Donncha O'Callaghan while Andrew Trimble is preferred on the left wing to Tommy Bowe.
As head coach Stuart Lancaster polishes the axe he will soon wield over his World Cup training squad, Exeter Chiefs coach Rob Baxter has backed Jack Nowell, Henry Slade and Luke Cowan-Dickie to be given a stay of execution.
Italy Under-20s held off a late Samoa blitz to retain their place in the World Rugby U20 Championship on Saturday and head coach Alessandro Troncon believes the experience will have served as a valuable lesson for his young troops.