English success in Europe has been a rare phenomenon in recent seasons but this year's Heineken Cup draw offers at least a glimmer of genuine hope.
How do you improve on perfection? It is a nice problem for Stuart Lancaster to contemplate as he seeks to capitalise on England's stunning win over New Zealand last month.
With hindsight, Sir Graham Henry said it was a mistake to coach the Lions of 2001.
Warren Gatland has said the decision not to include his Wales colleague Shaun Edwards among the coaches for next summer's British and Irish Lions tour was the "most difficult" of his career.
Shaun Edwards will not be a part of the British and Irish Lions coaching team on their tour of Australia next year.
Rob Howley will learn on Monday whether his time in charge of the Wales team continues to be dogged by injury.
On the field, an English club lost – again – but off it was where those sifting for encouragement might find succour.
Three years is a long, long time.
Warren Gatland goes into his ninth Six Nations in charge of Wales confident that his largely unchanged squad can build on a brave World Cup campaign in adversity and keep top players away from the chequebooks of leading English and French clubs.
Eddie Jones’s first squad selection as head coach will leave no one in any doubt that England are setting off in a fresh direction. A raft of highly rated newcomers led by Maro Itoje and Jack Clifford are poised to sweep aside several of Stuart Lancaster’s loyal servants, with a third of last autumn’s World Cup squad facing omission from Jones’s initial plans.
After the undoubted disappointments of 2015 England rugby fans have some very good reasons to be cheerful as the new year begins.