Six Nations Team of the Tournament
So the 10th Six Nations Championship is over, and we have a fourth different winner of the decade with Ireland belatedly joining France (four), England (three) and Wales (two) in the title-winning enclosure.
It's time to select your Team of the Tournament. Here is mine. No doubt you will disagree with some, if not all of the selections. In which case, let's be hearing from you.
Full-back: Lee Byrne (Wales) Tight call, and it bodes well for the Lions that arguments can also be made for England's Delon Armitage and Ireland's Rob Kearney. All three could go to South Africa, with Armitage and Kearney also offering options at centre and wing. But the Welshman's consistency, angles of attack and quality of kicking give him the edge, just.
Right wing: Tommy Bowe (Ireland) Mark Cueto made a successful return to Test rugby, his enthusiasm for work much in evidence, while Maxime Medard is a throwback to some of the great French backs, and not just because of his splendid sideburns. But Bowe, who can also play outside centre, has emerged as a Test wing of great potency, and a Lion in the making.
Outside centre: Brian O'Driscoll (Ireland) Who else? Some misguided souls questioned whether BOD could still cut it at his former stratospheric level. But he responded by inspiring his side to a long-awaited Grand Slam, scoring four tries and showing leadership when they most needed it. Deserved reward for a decade of sustained brilliance.
Inside centre: Riki Flutey (England) Alongside O'Driscoll, the tournament's top try-scorer with four, and the pair could be united with the Lions. Jamie Roberts burned brightly for Wales before fading, but the New Zealand Maori who played against the 2005 Lions is getting better by the match for his adopted country, sparking the England backline into life.
Left wing: Thom Evans (Scotland) Shane Williams extended his Welsh try-scoring record to 46, but was nowhere near the influence of last year. Evans was left out of Scotland's opening match, a decision made to look like folly when he immediately gave the Scots an attacking weapon with real pace. But for Ugo Monye, he might have collected a memorable try at Twickenham.
Fly-half: Stephen Jones (Wales) Ronan O'Gara might have had the last word with his glory-laden drop-goal, but the Irishman had a shocker against England and Jones was the more consistent throughout, despite his final kick landing agonisingly short. Francois Trinh-Duc, with one superb solo try, and Toby Flood also had their moments.
Scrum-half: Mike Phillips (Wales) Another difficult call. Though not quite back to his thundering best, the Welshman edges it over Morgan Parra, who provided control and goalkicking accuracy for France. Harry Ellis can also be satisfied with his return to Test duty, while Tomas O'Leary's tactical acumen was an important, under-rated, element in Ireland's success.
Loose-head prop: Gethin Jenkins (Wales) One of the great performances by a prop against England, when he launched into 16 of the 36 tackles he made in the tournament. Phenomenal work-rate and strength at scrum-time put him in pole position for the Lions Test number one jersey for the second tour in a row.
Hooker: Dimitri Szarzewski (France) Worryingly for the Lions, none of the home nations contenders really came through to announce themselves as stand-out contenders. Lee Mears can take great credit for only one lost English line-out in the entire tournament, but the Frenchman established himself as his country's number one hooker with a powerful all-round game.
Tight-head prop: John Hayes (Ireland) Much derided by pundits, much appreciated by team-mates, "The Bull" was a pillar of strength in Ireland's triumph. At 35, he has not missed a single Six Nations match since his debut in the second match of the 2000 campaign, testament to his stamina, and is now Ireland's record cap holder. Adam Jones also continues to impress.
Lock: Alun Wyn Jones (Wales) His Wales colleague Ian Gough made some shuddering hits and Donncha O'Callaghan again proved the perfect foil for the more celebrated talents of Paul O'Connell, but the Welsh tyro is the complete package at lock. Joint top of the Six Nations tacklers (54) with Joe Worsley, athletic in the line-out and a monster at the breakdown.
Lock: Paul O'Connell (Ireland) Arguable as to whether he or O'Driscoll is the bigger influence on Ireland, and they are both worthy contenders for the Lions captaincy. O'Connell was huge against England and destroyed the Wales line-out on Saturday. His country's leading tackler and ball-carrier, and a colossal presence in the tight exchanges and set-pieces. Superb consistency.
Blind-side flanker: Thierry Dusautoir (France) Another tough call. Stephen Ferris enjoyed a superb first Six Nations for Ireland, Alasdair Strokosch got through a mountain of work for Scotland, and Tom Croft started to fulfil his abundant potential, but the Frenchman continues to set a consistently high standard even when others around him are letting theirs drop.
Open-side flanker: David Wallace (Ireland) Joe Worsley enjoyed an unlikely international renaissance with England, while Martyn Williams again showed why Wales are keen for him to keep going to the 2011 World Cup. But the rejuvenated Irishman just edges it, his ball-carrying, breakdown work and link-up play putting him in pole position for the Lions number seven shirt.
Number eight: Sergio Parisse (Italy) Plenty of options, with Imanol Harinordoquy back to his best for France and Jamie Heaslip's dynamism adding a new dimension to the Irish back row. But the great Sergio - he carried the ball 58 times, 11 more than anyone else - was almost a one-man Italian team, with every skill in the book. You had to feel for him.