The build-up to the much-anticipated tournament focused on the World Cup hangovers inflicted on the participants, bar Italy, the one country that never fired a shot in France, while Wales had flattered with a 40-6 defeat of Australia only to be drilled by Argentina in the quarter-finals.
They went home more disappointed than broken.
It was France and England who had their psyches bludgeoned by the Springboks while Ireland were devastated by the All Blacks.
The best medicine
No matter the type of hangover you are nursing, the best medicine is the passage of time.
At the Stade Velodrome on Friday night, it took only minutes to see which of France and Ireland were still taking metaphorical paracetamol and who had regained their vim and vigour.
With hindsight, it should have been an easy prediction. The French are notorious for their fragile temperament, while “life goes on” is the Irish motto.
It is especially so for their rugby team.
Their coach Andy Farrell may not be Irish but he comes from the north of England rugby league stock and in that part of the world cowboys don't cry.
The consequence was that France were the ‘zombies' in losing 38-17 and the Irish played like a team who were excited about new beginnings in a season that unquestionably climaxes in South Africa in July.
In Pretoria on July 6 and Durban on July 12, it will be the No 1 team in the world trying to prove a point to the world champions.
The signs are already there that it is going to be as thrilling and combative as those pulsating knockout rounds of the World Cup.
Life after Sexton
A major talking point after Ireland lost by four points to the All Blacks in that quarter-final was whether they would be the same team in the future without talisman Johnny Sexton.
He had been an intrinsic part of Ireland's rise to world prominence.
The baton was passed to 24-yearold Munster flyhalf Jack Crowley and he played as if unto the manor born.
He was brilliant, prompting Irish legend Keith Woods to say: “Jack has the temperament, quality and ability to fill Johnny's boots and you can be sure that Johnny will mentor him until he does.”
A player who possibly made an even bigger impression with the series against South Africa in mind is the young lock Joe McCarthy.
The towering Leinster lock is being spoken about as a “typically South African lock” because of his physical dimensions and appetite for aggression.
The way the 22-year-old flung himself about against the French after being selected ahead of veteran James Ryan had another Ireland star, Andrew Trimble, saying: “He has the ‘thuggery' to break the mould for second-row play in Ireland.”
But coach Farrell's words sound the biggest warning about Ireland's intentions this year.
He said: “For us the World Cup had nothing to do with this game.
“All the talk about hangovers ... there's no hangovers with us. “Hangovers are for tomorrow. “We're four months down the line and the business we are in is the winning of rugby games.”