With Ireland now in the last chance saloon and Eddie O'Sullivan admitting his side are in a state of crisis, the Ireland coach has effectively rolled what could be his last meaningful dice of the World Cup campaign.
The woefully below par performances against Namibia and Georgia have finally forced the coach's hand.
And the jaw-dropping selection is the insertion from nowhere of Wasps scrum-half Eoin Reddan in place of the vastly experienced Peter Stringer in one of three changes for the crunch pool D showdown with hosts France at the Stade de France in Paris on Friday night.
Reddan, with just three caps to his name in comparison to Stringer's 79, has only one previous Test start to his name – against Argentina in the second Test in June.
His leap-frogging of Isaac Boss, who started Ireland's last meeting against France in the historic Six Nations at Croke Park and has been part of the national set-up for two years, will have been a particularly bitter pill to swallow for the Ulster scrum-half.
O'Sullivan feels that Reddan, who at least has the big match experience of winning a European Cup for Wasps last season in the final against Leicester, will bring more options to the party for the type of game he wants the side to play in Paris.
It is a bold move but one that is entangled with risks given Reddan's lack of experience at this level.
Stringer, almost ever present in the side since 2000, has paid the price for an alarming loss of form. He is far from alone however.
While there is no room for emotion in professional sport, maintaining morale and spirit is key and one can only wonder at what Boss now sees his role at this World Cup.
The same too can be said of Denis Hickie and Geordan Murphy, who have both been sensationally axed from the match 22.
Hickie, who is set to retire at the end of the World Cup, could well have played his last game for Ireland having been left out in preference to Andrew Trimble, whose roving role continues, this time on left wing.
Trimble, fit again after picking up a broken finger against Namibia, deserved his recall but it was Hickie's kicking, if nothing else, that helped relieve some of the pressure on Ireland given Ronan O'Gara's problems at out-half.
And that O'Sullivan should plump for Gavin Duffy on the bench ahead of both Hickie and Murphy smacks of a panic move.
O'Sullivan defended his move by suggesting that Duffy had versatility and also alluded to the fact that Murphy hadn't a history of playing well against the French. It seems more likely that the coach just doesn't rate him.
The other change to the starting line-up sees Jerry Flannery replace the hugely unfortunate Rory Best, who has been ruled out of both the France and Argentina games with a dislocated thumb.
Flannery will bring plenty of passion and ball-handling skills but Best's scrummaging presence will be missed against the French, who name their side today.
While it is bewildering that Neil Best, a player whose sheer physical presence alone could spearhead the Ireland pack's renaissance, looks set continue in a bit-part role, at least O'Sullivan must take credit for making changes, of attempting to find a way out of the mire for his side.
The chips are down on the table. Now it is all about the players, who have so far let themselves and Ireland's wonderful support down.
A defeat on Friday without a bonus point and O'Sullivan's next selection may not matter too much.
IRELAND SQUAD: G Dempsey; S Horgan, B O'Driscoll, G D'Arcy, A Trimble; R O'Gara, E Reddan; M Horan, J Flannery, J Hayes, D O'Callaghan, P O'Connell, S Easterby, D Wallace, D Leamy.
Replacements: F Sheahan, S Best, M O'Kelly, N Best, I Boss, P Wallace, G Duffy.