Head coach Jenkins believes his talented squad will relish the chance to measure themselves against the World top-five ranked team, and bookmakers' favourites for the tournament, in front of a capacity home crowd at the Millennium Stadium next week. Furthermore, he hopes his side's debut performance of the Rugby World Cup year can set a lasting tone.
"If you'd asked me to pick the game to open our Six Nations campaign this season it would have been this one," said Jenkins. "Ireland are very much the team to beat this year; they will come to us as firm favourites and it's probably the toughest start to the year we could have been given.
"That's how you measure yourselves and we have to be realistic about what is achievable this year. We want to beat every team put in front of us and, if we can get off to a good start against Ireland in front of our home fans, then we have a chance to lay down a marker for ourselves for the gruelling season ahead.
"Our regions have been performing well against the very top sides in Europe, they've all been competitive and played some great rugby. We have some injuries, which is not ideal, but the players we have been able to bring in show we have more strength in depth than we've had as a nation in the past. Our challenge now is to bring all of that together at national level."
Jenkins has recalled 121 caps-worth of combined forward experience to his squad in the guise of former national captain and Lions back row Colin Charvis, who made his Welsh regional debut this season with the Dragons, and 2005 Grand Slam winning hooker Mefin Davies.
Davies, plying his trade in the English Premiership with Gloucester Rugby, boasts 37 caps but double World Cup veteran Charvis wades in as the fourth-highest capped Welshman of all time with 84 appearances to his name - just six behind fellow squad member Gareth Thomas and three off Wales's kicking coach Neil Jenkins. (Gareth Llewellyn tops the list after representing his country 92 times).
"We have brought Colin back into the fold at the age of 35 - his performances at regional level justify his selection in the light of the injury problems we have in his position," said Jenkins.
"There are a number of players who have not been considered in our initial thinking due to injuries and lack of game time. Ian Evans and Jonathan Thomas have both been out of contention for the Ospreys with shoulder problems and Dafydd Jones is just returning for the Scarlets.
"Their absence has paved the way for Colin's return. His high level of experience is an added bonus and the same applies to Mefin.
"Richard Hibbard and Huw Bennett are two hookers who have only now returned from injury and are in need of game time, but we are fortunate to be in a position to be able to turn to someone of Mefin's level of experience."
The only uncapped player, in a squad which also welcomes the return of Grand Slam winning lock Robert Sidoli from shoulder surgery, is Blues back five player Scott Morgan, who Jenkins says will be viewed as a second row.
"Scott has played himself into contention with some sterling performances for the Blues as a middle line-out jumper mostly from the No.6 position, but our squad make-up means we will be looking for him to give us options at lock," he said. "The same applies to Alun Wyn Jones who we will now probably look at exclusively as a second row.
"In the backs Mark Jones (ankle), Lee Byrne (knee) and Sonny Parker (groin) have all suffered injuries, which is a blow for us, but the door is not closed on this squad and any player who can get himself fighting fit again will be monitored throughout the tournament.
"Chris Czekaj is another handed the opportunity to impress again on the international stage due to the withdrawal of other players. He missed out on Autumn selection but his form has been much improved of late and he makes a welcome return.
"Gareth Delve also returns after impressing us all on the summer tour of Argentina, with injury keeping him out of our plans during the Autumn."
Jenkins admits that his long term plans allow for players to be brought into the squad when form permits and injuries and circumstances dictate, but he is happy that he has the correct blend of youth, talent and experience to take his vision for the future of the national game onto the playing field this Six Nations.
"There is a lot of rugby to be played between now and our ultimate target of a World Cup Final spot - an achievement that would put our destiny in our own hands - and everyone who is a part of the momentous journey we have ahead of us has an invaluable contribution to make along the way," he added.
"The door is open for players to return, but we have 33 players now who are the men in possession and the challenge is for them to keep at the top of their game and take the nation on a journey they will never forget."
Kevin MORGAN (NEWPORT GWENT DRAGONS)
DoB: 23.02.77. 5'10". 13st 4lbs
International record: 39 caps (W23, L15, D 1; 55 pts - 11T)
Gavin HENSON (OSPREYS)
DoB: 01.02.82. 6'0". 15st 7lbs
International record: 20 caps (W 11, L 8, D 1; 130 pts - 3T,29C,18PG,1DG)
Chris CZEKAJ (CARDIFF BLUES)
DoB: 14.12.85. 6'3". 15st 12lbs
International record: 2 caps (W 1, L 1; 5 pts - 1T)
Shane WILLIAMS (OSPREYS)
DoB: 26.02.77. 5'8". 12st 13lbs
International record: 43 caps (W 21, L 20, D 2; 140 pts - 28T)
Gareth THOMAS (TOULOUSE)
DoB: 25.07.74. 6'2". 16st 4lbs
International record: 90 caps (W 48, L 41, D 1; 185 pts - 37T)
Jamie ROBINSON (CARDIFF BLUES)
DoB: 07.04.80. 6'2". 15st 0lbs
International record: 15 caps (W 6, L 9; 25 pts - 5T)
Tom SHANKLIN (CARDIFF BLUES)
DoB: 24.11.79. 6'2". 15st 7lbs
International record: 36 caps (W 16, L 19, D 1; 80 pts - 16T)
Gavin EVANS (LLANELLI SCARLETS)
DoB: 18.07.84. 6'3". 15st 10lbs
International record: 1 cap (W 1)
James HOOK (OSPREYS)
DoB: 27.06.85. 6'0". 12st 11lbs
International record: 6 caps (W 2, L 3, D 1; 51 pts - 2T, 13C, 5PG)
Hal LUSCOMBE (NEC HARLEQUINS)
DoB: 23.02.81. 6'3". 15st 9lb
International record: 15 caps (W 8, L 6, D 1; 10 pts - 2T)
Stephen JONES (LLANELLI SCARLETS, CAPTAIN)
DoB: 08.12.77. 6'1". 14st 12lbs
International record: 58 caps (W 26, L 30, D 2; 512 pts - 6T, 91C, 97PG, 3DG)
Ceri SWEENEY (NEWPORT GWENT DRAGONS)
DoB: 21.01.80. 5'10". 13st 7lbs
International record: 29 caps (W 15, L 14; 84 pts - 4T, 23C, 5PG, 1DG)
Dwayne PEEL (LLANELLI SCARLETS)
DoB: 31.08.81. 5'9". 13st 8lbs
International record: 48 caps (W 22, L 24, D 2; 25 pts - 5T)
Gareth COOPER (NEWPORT GWENT DRAGONS)
DoB: 07.05.79. 5'7". 13st 4lbs
International record: 32 caps (W 16, L 16; 30 pts - 6T)
Michael PHILLIPS (CARDIFF BLUES)
DoB: 29.08.82. 6'3". 14st 0lbs
International record: 17 caps (W 9, L 7, D 1; 10 pts - 2T)
Gethin JENKINS (CARDIFF BLUES)
DoB: 17.11.80. 6'2". 19st 0lbs
International record: 40 caps (W 16, L 22, D 2; 15 pts - 3T)
Duncan JONES (OSPREYS)
DoB: 18.09.78. 6'0". 17st 4lbs
International record: 33 caps (W 14, L 17, D 2)
Adam JONES (OSPREYS)
DoB: 08.03.81. 6'0". 19st 0lbs
International record: 37 caps (W 19, L 16, D 2; 5 pts - 1T)
Chris HORSMAN (WORCESTER WARRIORS)
DoB: 02.02.78. 6'3". 17st 6lbs
International record: 5 caps (W 3, L 2)
Rhys THOMAS (CARDIFF BLUES)
DoB: 23.04.82. 6'0". 16st 6lbs
International record: 14 caps (W 7, L 6, D 1)
Mefin DAVIES (GLOUCESTER RUGBY)
DoB: 02.09.72. 5'10". 15st 0lbs
International record: 37 caps (W 17, L 19, D 1; 10 pts - 2T)
Matthew REES (LLANELLI SCARLETS)
DoB: 09.12.80. 6'2". 15st 11lbs
International record: 5 caps (W 2, L 2, D 1; 5 pts - 1T)
Ian GOUGH (NEWPORT GWENT DRAGONS)
DoB: 10.11.76. 6' 5". 17st 4lbs
International record: 35 caps (W 15, L 17, D 3; 5 pts - 1T)
Brent COCKBAIN (OSPREYS)
DoB: 15.11.74. 6'8". 18st 11lb
International record: 22 caps (W 13, L 9; 5 pts - 1T)
Robert SIDOLI (CARDIFF BLUES)
DoB: 21.06.79. 6'6". 18st 2lbs
International record: 37 caps (W 17, L 19, D 1; 10 pts - 2T)
Scott MORGAN (CARDIFF BLUES)
DoB: 17.10.78. 6'6". 17st 4lbs
International record: Uncapped
Alun Wyn JONES (OSPREYS)
DoB: 19.09.85. 6'5". 17st 0lbs
International record: 5 caps (W 2, L 3)
Ryan JONES (OSPREYS)
DoB: 13.03.81. 6'5". 17st 10lbs
International record: 11 caps (W 7, L 3, D 1; 5 pts - 1T)
Alix POPHAM (LLANELLI SCARLETS)
DoB: 17.10.79. 6'3". 17st 4lbs
International record: 19 caps (W 8, L 10, D 1; 10 pts - 2T)
Martyn WILLIAMS (CARDIFF BLUES)
DoB: 01.09.75. 6'0". 15st 8lbs
International record: 64 caps (W 28, L 33, D 3; 53 pts - 10T, 1DG)
Gavin THOMAS (LLANELLI SCARLETS)
DoB: 22.10.77. 6'1". 15st 10lbs
International record: 19 caps (W 7, L 12; 20 pts - 4T)
Colin CHARVIS (NEWPORT GWENT DRAGONS)
DoB: 27.12.72. 6'2". 16st 10lbs
International record: 84 caps (W 39, L 43, D 2; 100 pts - 20T)
Gareth DELVE (BATH RUGBY)
DoB: 30.12.82. 6'3". 17st 13lbs
International record: 4 caps (W 1, L 3; 5 pts - 1T)