The warm-up games for the rugby World Cup had the inevitable winners and losers, with Wales and Scotland shaping up well. The various Irish combinations had their moments too, but victory remained elusive. However, this does not necessarily point to inevitable failure.
It is important to take such encounters seriously, but not too seriously. They are significant mainly for the aspiring squad, and for the coaches and selectors in deciding the final panels to take part in the World Cup.
Once the competition begins there is a reality which quickly demonstrates the best, and worst, in every team. Ireland have an impressive record and if they overcome their reputation as slow starters, they might surprise all of us.