The alternative Ireland XV - Joe Schmidt's star-studded second team would give a lot of sides a run for their money
The start of the Six Nations creeps ever closer, with today's team announcement the latest signpost on the way to Murrayfield on Saturday.
Despite a couple of injuries, Joe Schmidt was able to name a formidable side to face Scotland in the opening fixture, although he would have had an even tougher task had he had the luxury of selecting from a full deck.
After Ireland were upset by Argentina in the World Cup quarter-final last year, Schmidt made a vow that never again would his team be scuppered by injuries, no matter how key the absentees are.
While this year's Six Nations will ultimately show how far along Ireland are in that regard, a look at the depth chart shows that the team now has viable alternatives in almost every position.
To illustrate the talent currently in Irish rugby, here is an alternative team that Schmidt could field at a push. For the purposes of this piece, players who are believed to be carrying only short term injuries (Johnny Sexton, Peter O'Mahony, Andrew Trimble, Donnacha Ryan) have been taken into account for the selection of this side.
A couple of alternative selections have been included in brackets.
15. Tiernan O'Halloran
14. Tommy Bowe
13. Luke Marshall
12. Rory Scannell (Stuart McCloskey)
11. Andrew Trimble
10. Paddy Jackson (Ian Madigan)
9. Kieran Marmion
1. Cian Healy
2. Niall Scannell
3. John Ryan (Finlay Bealham/Marty Moore)
4. Ultan Dillane
5. Donnacha Ryan
6. Peter O'Mahony
7. Josh van der Flier
8. Jack Conan
How would this side fare against Scotland this weekend? A probables vs possibles game in Irish camp would certainly be worth watching!