With the Tri Nations and Bledisloe cup decided by the mighty All Blacks, the countdown to the Rugby World Cup in France begins in earnest.
Over the last six weeks we have heard plenty about the strength and defensive prowess of the big three in the Southern hemisphere. But what do the Northern Hemisphere and the super six nations make of it all?
Most of the media in this part of the world have already written off the tenaciousness of England, the flair of France, the passion of Scotland, the Irish magic and the never say die attitude of the Italians. I don't think that is quite right. Writing any of these teams off is a step too far in foolishness and certain myopic arrogance.
The English are fighters and even though they have been down and out in recent seasons, I am sure will put up a courageous fight to rival any of the favourites. The Italians had a good run in the last six nations and surely must have confidence going into the tournament that they can induce a few chinks into southern hemisphere armour. Scotland with the return of Jason White must also be rubbing their hands together in anticipation. Wales when on song can rip apart any defence and Ireland? Well with arguably the best centre pairing in the world, Ireland must surely rate their chances.
Any team that rests on their laurels against these six could pay a price. And with Argentina looming in the background, this tournament is building up to be an interesting, nail biting event I'm sure. Any tournament has its upsets and I will wager that this one will be no different. The question is - who will provide the biggest upset? And what team will not live up to the media hype.