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).
How do you follow a dancing hippopotamus - the Ospreys wheelchair rugby team has just the 'oneness' to do it say the BBC! For a decade the sight of a herd of hippos synchronised swimming around their own private blue lagoon, has lit up our television screens at regular intervals between favourite BBC One shows. But now the nation's most watched channel has relinquished its famous amphibious mammals in favour of a new show-reel which includes the Ospreys wheelchair rugby team.
Head coach Rowland Phillips and key front rower Carys Phillips look ahead to games against Spain and Ireland as Wales Women ramp up their preparations for the forthcoming Six Nations. The two warm-up games are a 'massive opportunity to refine the squad' according to the Welsh camp.
Martyn Phillips has discussed details of the newly published 'Strategy for Welsh Rugby' which puts in black and white terms the plans and direction of the governing body of the national sport in Wales for the next decade.
WRU chief executive Martyn Phillips has urged Welsh rugby fans to follow in the footsteps of their soccer counterparts at last summer's Euro Championship by backing their team to the hilt in the upcoming RBS 6 Nations campaign.
Chief executive Martyn Phillips has highlighted the plans for Wales to become a breeding ground for national and elite club rugby coaches, which are contained in the WRU's 10-year 'Strategy for Welsh Rugby'.
Andrew Coombs is enjoying his new role as Nelson forwards coach. The former Dragons and Wales lock has big ambitions to become a professional coach but feels it's important to learn the ropes in grassroots rugby and where better than his home club Nelson, with friends and family close to hand.
Students at Brynllywarch Hall School, near Newtown, have transformed their own lives, and are now having a positive impact on others through rugby. The sport has had a life-changing effect on the well-being of the students who are now delivering rugby sessions to local primary schools and playing for a new mixed ability side
Wales reached their first semi-final since 2013 in the opening round of this season's HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series in Dubai. WRU TV's Graeme Gillespie recaps on what proved to be an eventful tournament
Wales and Ospreys back row James King, who came through the North Wales age grade system, nominated North Wales Regional Community Rugby Manager Marc Roberts, in the WRU's 'Diolch' initiative where squad players thanked those who played a part in their rise to the top.
Beating Merthyr has boosted Carmarthen Quins hopes of reaching a top eight spot in the Principality Premiership. Quins captain Haydn Pugh is delighted with his team's progress and is determined that everyone from the Under 6s through to the senior team, enjoys the ride.
When the Wales squad were asked to nominate individuals who played a big part in their early playing days, Wales and Dragons full back and wing Hallam Amos thought of his former Monmouth School rugby coach John Bevan.
Sam Cross and Luke Treharne have been named as co-captains of the Wales Sevens side as head coach Gareth Williams names his 12-man squad to play in the first leg of the HSBC World Series in Dubai next weekend.
Bedwas head coach Steve Law and players Nicky Griffiths and Alun Rees extol the virtues of the close knit club as they prepare to host third place RGC 1404 - who are one place head of them on the Principality Premiership points table - on Saturday.
Many of the Wales squad have said Diolch (thank you) to someone who played an important part in their early playing days by nominating them to be invited to the Wales v South Africa match. One person, Gowerton Comprehensive geography teacher Mr Dean Mason was nominated by two of his former pupils, Dan Biggar and Sam Davies.