The biggest competitions in rugby are increasingly defined and decided by those who aren't there, such is the sheer frequency of injury in an absurdly demanding sport. Eddie Jones moaned this week of an injury list as "long as his arm", but he is not the only manager to have to contend with a difficult injury list.
Wales' Six Nations hopes have been hindered by a spate of injuries, with scrum-half Rhys Webb the latest to be ruled out of the tournament. Webb left the Welsh training camp with an ankle injury, and has been replaced by the uncapped Tomos Williams.
The Webb news came days after it was confirmed that his half-back partner Dan Biggar will miss the first three rounds with a shoulder injury (which will include the game in Dublin).
Compounding these half-back woes is the fact that four of their Irish and British Lions will miss at least the first three rounds: Sam Warburton, Taulupe Faletau, Jonathan Davies and Dan Lydiate are all injured.
And the Wales injury list doesn't end there.
Liam Williams is in danger of missing the opening clash with Scotland, George North hasn't played a game for three months so there are doubts about his match fitness, second-row Jake Ball will probably miss the full tournament and Rhys Priestland has been sent back to Bath to assess the full extent of his hamstring injury.
Wales may be helped by the momentum of the Scarlets, 13 of whom Gatland has included in his squad, but the reality for Gatland is that of the 12 Welsh players he included in last year's Lions squad, he could be without seven of them for the opening game of the tournament against a resurgent Scotland, with at least four of them likely to be absent for the third-round trip to Dublin.