With their Six Nations title hopes now all but gone, Wales head coach Warren Gatland has been left to mull over frustrating inconsistencies he believes have let slip an historic hat-trick of championship titles.
While not adverse to year-long swings in form (note last season's eight-game pre-tournament losing streak, followed by winning the Six Nations), 2014 has come to represent a difficult campaign for a squad that boast 15 of last summer’s series-winning British and Irish Lions.
After an opening-day win against Italy, Wales were dealt a lesson in Test match rugby against Ireland in Dublin, before turning things around against France. But having lost 29-18 to England to all but end their title aspirations, with one game to go Gatland must look back on a championship that has failed to live up to his expectations.
Next weekend’s finale against Scotland has always been eyed as a likely rallying point for Wales - albeit one to seal a first hat-trick of Championship titles in the modern era. With that prospect gone though, it now takes on a very different meaning as they look to end the campaign on a high and launch their 2015 World Cup preparations in a positive manner.