There was a time when Irish sides playing the French were almost content in post match analysis to be tagged plucky in defeat. I'd like to think I was never part of those teams but in the general acceptance that we gave it our best shot, despite losing, I may well have been.
Point is that professional rugby has moved the game so far on from that yet the feeling yesterday, when departing Lansdowne Road, was of an Irish performance in which we gave it a right good lash and, despite coming up just two points short, were in with a real shout right to the very end.
Irish rugby has to be more advanced and yesterday, despite all the huffing and puffing, it wasn't. The better team - at least the one attempting to put together the more constructively adventurous rugby - eventually came out on top and that is how it should be.
It wasn't classic Gallic attacking play from days of yore but that steady climb is clearly under way.
We, meanwhile, appear betwixt and between.
Press me to identify a discernable game plan and with hand on heart I'm struggling. The 'Hail Mary' hoof-in-the-air is still the focal point of our attack.
Occasionally we get a ball palmed back courtesy of a well-timed jump and it's almost cause for celebration.
We've to be better than that because we are better than that and if the will is there to develop an offloading game then it can be achieved.
Putting the ball and, by extension, supporting players into space is not rocket science. However slavish adherence to this bish-bash we continually deliver is depressing in the extreme.
Losing by just two points to this developing French squad is not the end of the world - the Italian, Scottish and English games will come around - but please can we have a little bit of daring do added to the mix.
A sprinkling of moral courage when in possession close-in to change the point of attack or when on the edges wide out not to blindly return the speculative kick every time.
Winning matters but how we win, particularly in these times, matters even more.
No matter who trumpets it, whether management or players, I don't want to hear of 'definitely seeing progress' because as of now such tangible signs are marked by their absence.
Let's be brutally honest, we are a limited team playing a very limited brand of unattractive rugby.
There is no magic wand or silver bullet but just two games in and with Grand Slam, Triple Crown and Championship already gone surely the time is right for change and if that means giving youth its fling in certain areas then why not?
It would not be change for change sake but change with a definite sense of purpose. And if that is still deemed a step too far then surely a change in strategy is not beyond comprehension.
I have said it before, and I repeat again now, that what Pat Lam achieved at Connacht and that winning style of attacking rugby can be replicated at the highest level if the will is there.
Of course there were positives from yesterday's defeat.
The set-piece - scrum and line out - was again strong while in individual terms Andrew Porter, Tadgh Beirne, Iain Henderson and Rhys Ruddock were massive despite losing.
Jamison Gibson-Park had an industrious 80 minutes producing greater variety to his kicks than Conor Murray but given that the Kiwi scrum half's strength, much like the soon to be capped Craig Casey, is in the tempo of his service then surely logic dictates the most obvious way to go. But still we kick and kick and kick.
When James Lowe plays for Leinster it is his ability to carry into contact and off load to supporting players at pace and into space that marks his arsenal of attack as different, yet when wearing green he kicks and kicks and kicks.
That doesn't just happen by chance it is clearly pre-determined policy.
No one is suggesting it is easy to break a top tier defence at the highest level and a Shaun Edwards defence is even more difficult than that again, but surely probing with ball in hand is the least we should demand of ourselves and of each other.
We haven't yet reached the point where when all else fails we hoof it in the air because patently we've not gone remotely close to 'all else' so instead we hoof it high or long regardless.