Irish coach Eddie O'Sullivan's injury plagued build-up to his first game in charge of the national side has seen him have to rule out four senior players for the Lloyds TSB Six Nations opener against Wales at Lansdowne Road on Sunday, 3 February.
Following on from the early withdrawals of skipper Keith Wood and fellow British Lion Malcolm O'Kelly, the Ierish coach has also seen Leinster duo Shane Horgan and Eric Miller drop out. In addition, Leinster prop Emmet Byrne could also not be considered through injury.
It has meant a major reshuffle of his side and a heavy reliance on the Munster side that reached the semi-finals of the Heineken Cup for the third successive season last weekend with a magnificent victory in Paris over Stade Francais.
O'Sullivan has handed a first cap to young Munster lock Paul O'Connell, who was man of the match in Paris, in the absenece of O'Kelly, while Munster hooker Frank Sheahan comes in for Wood at hooker to make his first start in the Six Nations Championship.
That means Munster provide the whole of the front five, seven members of the pack and eight players overall to the side.
Peter Stringer appears at scrum half and to make it an even greater day for the Munster contingent, their captain Mick Galwey will lead the side in the absence of Wood and prop Peter Clohessy will win his 50th cap.
Up front, Llanelli's Simon Easterby is the odd man out, while Leicester Tigers full back Geordan Murphy comes in on the right wing. He fills in for Bath's kevin maggs, who switches to centre in the absence of Horgan.
Leinster's uncapped flanker Keith Gleeson, Dublin-born but a former captain of Australia Under 21, comes in on the replacements bench due to the absence of team mate Miller.
O'Sullivan has still to decide on a prop replacement and has named an AN Other on the bench.
Girvan Dempsey (Leinster); Geordan Murphy (Leicester Tigers), Brian O'Driscoll (Leinster), Kevin Maggs (Bath), Denis Hickie (Leinster; David Humphreys (Ulster), Peter Stringer (Munster); Peter Clohessy (Munster), Frank Sheahan (Munster), John Hayes (Munster); Mick Galwey (Munster, CAPTAIN), Paul O'Connell (Munster), Simon Easterby (Llanelli), David Wallace (Munster), Anthony Foley (Munster)
Shane Byrne (Leinster), AN Other, Gary Longwell (Ulster), Keith Gleeson (Leinster), Guy Easterby (Llanelli), Ronan O'Gara (Munster), Rob Henderson (Munster).
Angus O'Brien has quickly settled into the Wales Sevens squad after solid performances in Hong Kong and Japan. With two rounds remaining in Glasgow and Twickenham on the World Series, WRU TV's Graeme Gillespie chats to the rising star.
Wales winger Luke Morgan has established himself as one of the deadliest finishers on the Sevens World Series. WRU TV's Graeme Gillespie catches up with him on the eve of this weekend's round in Glasgow.
All roads lead to Cardiff on Sunday for the SSE SWALEC Finals Day at the Millennium Stadium. Cambrian Welfare tackle Ystradgynlais in the Bowl final, Ystrad Rhondda play Newcastle Emlyn in the Plate final while defending champions Pontypridd face Bridgend in the Cup final.
WRU Chief Executive Roger Lewis, Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism Ken Skates and WRU Chairman Gareth Davies earlier this week launched a new competition in conjunction with the WRU unveiling its archive room.
Welsh players and management joined Deputy Minister for Sport Ken Skates at the Pierhead Building, Cardiff Bay earlier this week to reveal the Union's pioneering school-club hub initiative has been so successful the project will now almost double the scale of the original project.
The Scarlets, Newport Gwent Dragons, Cardiff Blues and the Ospreys look ahead to Judgement Day III which sees the Blues take on the Ospreys (2.30) and the Dragons tackle the Scarlets (4.45pm) at the Millennium Stadium tomorrow afternoon.
Ystradgynlais and Ynysddu played out a titanic struggle at Taffs Well in the SSE SWALEC Bowl semi-final. At the end of the game neither team could be separated after a 15-15 stalemate but Ystradgynlais go through on try count.
Blues strike first in JD III battle - Newport Gwent Dragons lock Andrew Coombs, WRU referee Dylan Llyr Jones and Cardiff Blues hooker Matthew Rees decide dressing room allocations for Judgement Day III
Wales Under 18 captain Calum Haggett has received a conditional offer to read Biomedical Science at St Anne's College, Oxford. WRU chairman Gareth Davies went to meet Calum and Coleg y Cymoedd Principal Judith Evans to wish him luck in his exams and pass on some of his personal experience.