"IRELAND: Started season ranked 7th (846 pts) - finished ranked 6th (834)
A shock win over England in September and a fiercely-contested loss to the All Blacks in Dublin gave the Irish hope that 2002 might be a productive year, but with the departure of coach Warren Gatland, the ship started to rock slightly during the Six Nations, their mauling by England at Twickenham and by the rampant French in Paris nipping their rankings ambitions in the bud. Now 234 points adrift of fifth-placed France, they have a virtually impossible task to ascend the ladder further in the short term.
Rankings verdict: Slight improvement, but a way off being top five material
Planet Rugby verdict: Opportunity knocked last season, but they blew most big games."
Food for thought eh?