Ireland need only recall Scottish and Welsh misery at the Stadio Flaminio in previous years to see the potential for disaster held by a trip to Rome on the first Sunday of the RBS 6 Nations championship.
But it is hard to see Eddie O'Sullivan's Triple Crown holders - touted by many as tournament favourites with the possibility of a Grand Slam title also currying favour - coming unstuck against Italy.
The Ireland camp has made all the right noises in the build up to the match, citing the excellent work undertaken by coach John Kirwan is developing the competition's traditional whipping boys into a more rounded side.
And while it is true Italy performances are more assured with the passing of each tournament, their primary objective is still to avoid the wooden spoon - a challenge well within their grasp given Scotland's glaring deficiencies.
The Azzurri will be helped by the return of Alessandro Troncon. Their half-backs have seen regular changes in personnel and the veteran Treviso star - a former Italy captain - should provide some stability.
Up-front they will undoubtedly let Ireland know they have been in a genuine Test match such is the strength of their forwards, but Brian O'Driscoll and co hold too many aces elsewhere to suggest a defeat is on the cards.
If the likes of Gordon D'Arcy, Geordan Murphy and O'Driscoll are supplied with enough ball, the Irish seem unlikely to endure a losing start. The only real threat to victory would appear to be complacency.
R De Marigny (Parma), Mirco Bergamasco (Stade Francais), G Canale (Treviso), A Masi (Viadana), L Nitoglia (Calvisano), L Orquera (Petrarca Padova), A Troncon (Treviso), A Lo Cicero (L'Aquila), F Ongaro (Treviso)/Giorgio Intoppa (Calvisano), M Castrogiovanni (Calvisano), M Bortolami (Narbonne, capt), S Dellape (Agen), A Persico (Agen), Mauro Bergamasco (Stade Francais), S Parisse (Treviso).
Replacements: S Perugini (Calvisano), G Intoppa (Calvisano)/Carlo Festuccia (Rugby Parma), CA Del Fava (Parma), D Dal Maso (Treviso), P Griffen (Calvisano)/P Travagli (Viadana), W Pozzebon (Treviso), PK Robertson (Viadana).
G Murphy (Leicester), S Horgan (Leinster), B O'Driscoll (Leinster, capt), G D'Arcy (Leinster), D Hickie (Leinster), R O'Gara (Munster), P Stringer (Munster), R Corrigan (Leinster), S Byrne (Leinster), J Hayes (Munster), M O'Kelly (Leinster), P O'Connell (Munster), S Easterby (Llanelli), D Leamy (Munster), A Foley (Munster).
Replacements: F Sheahan (Munster), M Horan (Munster), D O'Callaghan (Munster), E Miller (Leinster), G Easterby (Leinster), D Humphreys (Ulster), G Dempsey (Leinster).
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.