It's probably the most appropriate point for a mid-term report in these mad-hatter times. So where stands Andy Farrell and Ireland as the Test game moves out of shot and European and interprovincial rugby takes centre stage?
There's much done in terms of transition post-Japan and Joe Schmidt, but so much more to do for Farrell and Ireland now. We are officially the best of the rest behind England and France in this part of the world and in truth I think that is a fair analysis at the end of this strange but, we all hope, 'once-off' Nations Cup campaign.
If we could wave a magic wand and bring certain players back into the fold - specifically Garry Ringrose, Jordan Larmour, Tadhg Furlong, Joey Carbery, Dan Leavy and our most recent signing James Lowe without losing any of the current crop prior to facing the Welsh at the Principality on February 7 - then there has to be grounds for optimism that a change in winning style and substance is possible.
Those who suggest a discernible change in pattern in 2020 are deluded. Farrell and his management team are still getting to grips with the challenge at the highest level and all that entails, particularly following on from the Schmidt winning legacy - the most successful in the history of Irish rugby.
The least they deserve is time, and Saturday's performance, compared to what we witnessed at the same venue six days before, has bought them that time.
For many obvious reasons 2021 is a year that can't come quickly enough and for rugby - specifically being an uneven year - the fixture calendar fills us with a measured degree of optimism given the English and French must travel to Lansdowne Road.
It might prove a close thing depending on vaccine roll-out, but hopefully based on what we witnessed this weekend at English football stadia a percentage of Six Nations fans might be in situ come the spring.
It is an austere setting to attend but great credit to the IRFU and to the players for making it happen despite the very many difficulties involved.
What we got on Saturday was an old-style Ireland/Scotland encounter.
It was by some way the most substantial Irish performance given the on-fire Scots hit the ground running and it made for a much more enjoyable 80 minutes than any other in the impromptu tournament to this point.
The only downside could be the extent of the injury to Iain Henderson. The lineout still has the occasional wobble and the maul is in need of address, but in broad terms the fundamentals are in place.
The scrum was solid, but without Ringrose in midfield we still look bankrupt in creative terms.
He and Larmour bring a touch of creative madness that many options we now have - specifically in midfield - cannot quantify.
The Leinster duo of Robbie Henshaw alongside Ringrose is still my preferred choice going forward when all are fit.
The back-three is still an issue with the Jacob Stockdale case for full-back still open. Between Hugo Keenan, Keith Earls, Andrew Conway, Stockdale, Larmour and Lowe there is the makings of a decent interchangeable unit.
At half-back, Conor Murray is by a reasonable distance back in pole position as our top number nine. He and fellow Munster man Peter O'Mahony deserve enormous credit for the manner in which they have each responded to the challenge of being dropped.
Murray and Johnny Sexton will lead us into Cardiff come February. The back-row is still an issue in relation to balance, but pound for pound and in terms of form, CJ Stander, O'Mahony and Caelan Doris represent the three best options come Six Nations time.
The key is in getting Stander in position to carry more. Doris has been a revelation and was a most worthy Man of the Match despite departing early.
O'Mahony, Earls and Andrew Porter (who has had a top-class campaign) were others in the frame.
And mention here too of Eric O'Sullivan. Dublin-born and Templeogue College educated but an example of hunger, of commitment and of that desire to succeed regardless of obstacles presented along the way. He has followed his dream north and has benefited enormously from the top-class set-up in Ulster.
The Kingspan has welcomed each and every one with open arms and with Irish rugby the beneficiary. Bryn Cunningham, Dan McFarland and David Nucifora take a bow.
We leave this Nations Cup in reasonable nick but let no one pretend we have closed the gap on England or France.
We are a work in progress but the vibes from within are good and the raw material is in place to make a serious play.
Roll on 2021.