With the nightmare of the World Cup in Japan finally consigned to history as the Andy Farrell era of Irish rugby got underway, it is somewhat ironic that the new boss’s very first tournament will have a direct influence on Ireland’s next World Cup campaign in France in three years’ time.
With the cream having risen to the top and the four best sides left standing in the tournament providing two contrasting semi-final shootouts, we are left, with a potentially explosive final with rugby north and south of the equator set for a fascinating head to head.
This World Cup serves to remind us that previous form or results counts for little. The fact that Ireland had won two of their previous encounters against New Zealand only handed Steve Hansen and his coaching staff a template to beat us when it mattered most.
Tadhg Furlong likes a bowl of ramen or a parcel of gyoza as much as the next man, but there comes a time when this son of Wexford farming stock hankers for a bit of beef, and he sated that appetite in some style in Fukuoka over the weekend.
Since the advent of professionalism and the rise in the status of the Rugby World Cup after its rushed introduction in 1987 against the wishes of the four unions in Britain and Ireland, the sport at international level now tends to operate in four-year cycles.