Who will fill no 13 jersey?
Brian O'Driscoll's long-term absence will place an extra focus on the No 13 jersey in this season's Heineken Cup campaign. Here are three of the hopefuls who will begin the Ireland auditions in today's opening forays for their provinces.
Inside centre may be McFadden's most natural location, but his distribution, stepping skills and speed off the mark also equip him for the outside role. It's a huge day for McFadden's international aspirations when he could benefit from the element of surprise.
The Dolphin man carries a John Kelly-like ability to adjust to new surroundings and higher levels. Not a spectacular, showy player, but Barnes has a bit about him.
The dark horse in the '13' race, Cave has been under the radar, but he is a natural 13, who runs good lines with the handling skills to make it count. Bulky in defence, Cave is also faster than he looks.