Ireland's form in the Autumn internationals suggested a successful RBS 6 Nations lay around the corner and they have confirmed those expectations, despatching Scotland and Italy with ease and edging big-guns France in a tight encounter at Lansdowne Road.
A championship decider against England awaits the Irish if they can negotiate Wales and that prize should be all the motivation they need to see off the home side.
Ireland have been forced to make a couple of changes in the pack after the France game but this should not hamper their chances against a set of Welsh forwards who have struggled this season, especially in the line-out.
However, the return of experienced forwards Jonathan Humphreys, Colin Charvis and Gareth Llewellyn - with 160 Test caps between them - should give Hansen some cause for comfort.
The two sides are a little more evenly matched in the backs where Wales have pace to burn out wide, although with Brain O'Driscoll and Geordan Murphy in their ranks, the Irish still have the edge.