•Among the young players hoping to take the next step in their international career are Ulster backs Michael Lowry, James Hume and Robert Baloucoune.
•With Johnny Sexton in possession of the starting fly-half spot, Joey Carbery and Jack Carty are likely to vie for a place on the bench.
In-form players with limited international experience should be trusted to start in big games as Ireland seek to build squad depth, says former captain Rory Best.
The ex-Ulster hooker has warned against saving the less experienced players for Italy, the Six Nations' weakest team in recent years while sticking to the same XV for the other four fixtures.
"Rather than trying to build a squad of 35 let's see firstly can we build a squad of 25 or 26 that are all capable of playing," Best said.
"I would like to see each game dropping somebody in who is very close."
Speaking on this week's Ulster Rugby Show, which airs on BBC Two NI on Thursday at 22:00 GMT, Best and former Ireland wing Tommy Bowe discuss the decisions awaiting head coach Andy Farrell as he prepares to select his first matchday 23 of the year from an "embarrassment of riches".
Ireland's four provinces have all qualified for the last knockout stage of the European Champions Cup for the first time, and with the international team riding high following their impressive autumn Test results Farrell must decide how much he is willing to deviate from the side that served him so well in November.
What Ireland teams have done in the past is play four games with what they perceive as their strongest team then go to Italy and make 10-12 changes and go 'we didn't play that well," said Best.
"They didn't play that well because you made 10 changes and gave them no continuity whatsoever."
Among the young players hoping to take the next step in their international career are Ulster backs Michael Lowry, James Hume and Robert Baloucoune.
While an injury to James Lowe has put Baloucoune in contention to start Ireland's opener against Wales on February 5, full-back Lowry goes into his first Six Nations camp knowing Leinster's Hugo Keenan remains the first-choice number 15 having consistently excelled since bursting on to the scene in 2020.
Centre Hume also faces a tough task with Garry Ringrose, Robbie Henshaw and Bundee Aki all boasting considerable international pedigree having long since established themselves at the top of Ireland's midfield depth chart.
Ireland are travelling to Portugal for training camp before their opener in Dublin on February 5.
"I'd love to see James Hume get an opportunity in one of the games early on in the Six Nations," Bowe said.
"I would say Robert Baloucoune would start, I think Andrew Conway will move to the left-wing and I think Mike Lowry has a real opportunity. We know how good Hugo Keenan is, we know what a solid operator he is and he's playing great for Leinster but give Lowry a chance.
"This is the sort of chance that you want because we've got the All Blacks in the summer. You need to give these guys a bit of game time now so that we can see where they stand. I do think these guys have to be given an opportunity and guys playing on the form have to be picked."
"The other one I'd love to see would be [Ulster back row] Nick Timoney," added Best.
"I'd love to see him sitting in a back row with maybe Caelan Doris, Jack Conan and Timoney at seven.
"I think they have played well enough to be there as of right. But to build this squad for Ireland to be dropping people in and out is really important."
With Johnny Sexton in possession of the starting fly-half spot, Joey Carbery and Jack Carty are likely to vie for a place on the bench.
Lowry, who played 10 at school and has indicated it remains his favourite position, has been floated as a potential cover for the position despite the vast majority of his appearances for Ulster coming at full-back.
"Michael Lowry is going to be a really interesting one because I would have real fears if you had him covering 10 that Johnny or Jack, or whoever starts, goes off really early and then you're asking somebody who is playing his first or second game to try and run a game when he doesn't play it at club level," Best said.
"I also do get the versatility argument. It's probably more a World Cup squad conversation than a matchday squad because I don't think that at international position trying to cover every position works.
"The other issue is his stature. I'm a big believer that rugby is a game for all shapes and sizes and you keep waiting for Michael to be exposed but it never happens.
"The way he has played he has deserved the chance, rather than assuming that he's too small."