Playing World Cup hosts France has brought an extra spotlight on Ireland just at a time when the heat had already reached boiling point on Eddie O'Sullivan and his squad.
The hostile public reaction at home and in Bordeaux to Ireland's stuttering performances against Namibia and Georgia has heaped the pressure on O'Sullivan, who only last month was handed a new four-year contract from the IRFU.
And the presence of the French media in the build-up to Friday night's pressure cooker contest has only heightened tensions.
The coach was clearly feeling the strain yesterday when revealing his hand, and the fact that he has made three changes to his starting line-up and two to his bench is an indication that his usual conservative approach is no longer appropriate.
Thus the burden of dragging Ireland's out of the mire has largely been heaped on the shoulder's of Eoin Reddan, who comes in for Peter Stringer - only the second time the hugely experienced Munsterman has been dropped in seven years.
Reddan, who won the Heineken Cup with Wasps last season, will only be winning his fourth cap at the Stade de France. But O'Sullivan said he had no fear about pitching him into Ireland's biggest game in four years.
"It was a tough decision to make because Peter has been a stalwart of the team," he said.
"But his form lately hasn't been the best - he hasn't been on top of his game. He hasn't been the Peter Stringer of old.
"Eoin comes straight into the side based on the type of game he's capable of playing. We feel he can do a type of job for us on Friday. His form for Wasps at the tail-end of last season was good and he fits the bill for this particular match.
"It's a tough call for a big game like this. But like every player Peter accepts getting drops comes with the territory. It's often the making of a player."
O'Sullivan admitted his call was also particularly harsh on Isaac Boss, who remains on the bench, having been leap-frogged by Reddan. Stringer, like Denis Hickie and Geordan Murphy, drops out of the 22 completely.
"We see Isaac as an impact player," added O'Sullivan. "He can also cover a number of positions and has performed to a high level."
In the two other changes to the starting line-up, one of which was enforced, Andrew Trimble replaces Denis Hickie on the left wing and Jerry Flannery profits from Rory Best's dislocated thumb.
"I wasn't unhappy with Denis' form, but Andrew played well in the first game," said O'Sullivan. "Rory has been holding Jerry out just about, so I don't think there are any dramas about Jerry coming in.
"He brings a robustness to his game that you would want at hooker.
"Rory has been playing well, but he is injured and Jerry will be chomping at the bit."
The changes to the bench are even more radical. With Gavin Duffy preferred to Murphy and Hickie.
"Geordan's last few games against France haven't been a happy hunting ground. They have not been good days," added O'Sullivan.
"That's my decision and I stand over that. Gavin can cover wing, full-back and centre and that has also earned him the nod."