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).
Wales Under 18 captain Callum Bradbury is delighted to have seen his side claim a narrow 18-17 victory against a strong SA Schools 'A' side to end the three-match Under 19 International Series in South Africa on a high note.
The Wales U18 squad spent an emotional day in the drug-riddled townnship of Hout Bay. Hout Bay Warriors President Fred Johannes said the visit was 'the talk of the town' and will dream about the day everyday for the rest of his life.
RGC 1404's new head coach Mark Jones is hoping to build 'something special' in north Wales and is already looking forward to the development region participating in the Principality Premiership for the very first time.
A joint venture between the WRU and Admiral saw hundreds of children enjoy the Admiral Festival of Rugby held at the National Centre of Excellence at the weekend where Welsh internationals Sam Warburton, Scott Williams and Rob Evans were in attendance.
Wll Jones leads Wales U18s into battle this afternoon against Italy where the Welsh side will be seeking to bounce back from their narrow defeat to SA Schools in their opening clash of the U19 International Series
All four regions attended a successful training camp staged last weekend at the WRU National Centre of Excellence. It was a chance for new Wales Women's head coach Rowland Phillips to deliver his key messages to players and coaches as he prepares for the new season.
Wales U18 Team Manager Gethin Watts believes the next couple of weeks will be 'extremely beneficial' to the future of Welsh rugby as his side prepare to take part in the Under 19 International Series being staged in South Africa.
The WRU is searching for 12 new rugby development apprentices following a successful first year of its WRU Coach Core programme. Craig Duncan and Jess Hancock have flourished in the first year of the programme which has given them a real direction in their lives.
The WRU signed TV comedian Rhod Gilbert up to a 'Coaching Children Level 1' course before letting him loose on an U8s side at Whitland Junior Borderers - we went behind the scenes to film the making of 'Rhod Gilbert's Work Experience' see the results here.
Llandovery are aiming to make it three titles in a row in this year's Foster's National 7s being held at BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park on Sunday 28 August. Drovers assistant coach Simon Davies and Lee Rees assess their sides chances
A pioneering strength and conditioning programme has been delivered to more than 8000 boys and girls at hub schools throughout Wales this season, helping to develop stronger, more flexible athletes for rugby and other sports.
The Singha Premiership Rugby 7s Series returns to the BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park on July 22nd when all four Welsh regions go head to head. Scarlets skills coach Dai Flanagan and Blues Elite Performance Pathway Manager Richard Hodges along with current Welsh squad members were at the launch of this season's event