Not content with stuffing the trophy cabinet with every ornament available to them, the New Zealand All Blacks have gone to work on the biscuit cupboard by clinching the inaugural 10 Nations championship Iced VoVos.
Not that the accompanying championship certificate would look out of place in the cabinet if they could find room and a spot of blu-tak.
A truly deserved champion and will no doubt serve as the cream on the pudding of this record breaking year for them.
Congratulations must also go to the South Africa Springboks, who pushed the All Blacks all the way through the tournament and came within an Irish false start of snatching first.
I’m sure they’ll all be able to kick back with their arrowroot and maybe a bit of butter and a glass of milk and reflect not on what might have been, but what can be next season and how they can keep their fate in their own hands.
But now to the tournament finale. What a show Australia and Wales put on, each side not willing to give an inch, desperate to take their chance to climb to third.
Unfortunately neither of them managed it, with Australia’s winning margin falling 15 points short and coming in at fourth behind England, third, on adjusted differential and Wales’ loss consigning them to fifth.
However both teams never gave up and really showed the world what this tournament is all about.
The bottom half of the table is headed by Ireland, which is perhaps not a bad position considering their year hasn’t really ignited but no doubt they’ll be eyeing off an improved showing in next years Six Nations to give them a springboard into next year’s standings.
And then there’s the French. Improved performances in real world losses in November was never going to be enough to lift this giant higher than anyone but the minnows after their start to the tournament.
They can take heart in their enigmatic French spirit however, as seeing they had such a stinker of a year they’re just as likely to blow everyone away next year.
A June match in Australia provides a good opportunity to snatch a win against southern hemisphere opposition and if they come back to their usual standard in the Six Nations as well they could be well and truly sniffing VoVos towards the business end of the tournament.
The minnows largely finished where they were expected to, with perhaps the surprise being a last place finish for Argentina.
This is no doubt disappointing for the Argentines, however their real world win over Italy wasn’t enough with the Azzurri’s two big scalps in the Six Nations making it difficult for them to be caught.
Then with Samoa coming out on top in their simulated match courtesy of a hefty scoreline against Italy in South Africa, their fate was sealed.
So that’s it for the year. Balls have been deflated, biscuits have been posted and the world gets back to normality.
Next year’s fixtures will be decided in the next month or so and will be posted shortly after the competing nations are finalised with the release of the first IRB rankings of the year.
I’ll be doing a preview of the 2014 tournament shortly after that (and before the tournament starts this year).
As always full details can be found on the 10 Nations website.
Thanks to everyone who’s checked it out as it’s progressed.
Final standings – 2013 10 Nations International Rugby Championship
1 New Zealand 42
2 South Africa 39
3 England 31
4 Australia 31
5 Wales 27
6 Ireland 21
7 France 16
8 Italy 16
9 Samoa 11
10 Argentina 10