With less than a week to go until Ireland kick-off their Rugby World Cup campaign, plenty of predictions are being given on how Andy Farrell's team will fare in France.
It is probably fair to say that this Ireland side are perhaps the best prepared we have ever sent to the tournament, having plenty of strength in depth and seemingly peaking at the right time. In saying that, the difficulty of the draw they have been handed means that getting over their quarter-final hoodoo will be no easy task.
Should they progress from a group that also features South Africa and Scotland, it is likely that they will face New Zealand or France in the knockout rounds.
With that in mind, many fear that the Irish will underwhelm in terms of their finishing position once again this time around.
Ex-Ireland man fears team will flop at Rugby World Cup
Ireland would have an excellent at getting beyond the quarter-final this year despite the tough draw, but some feel that they are still well short in terms of being contenders to win the World Cup.
Speaking to AFP, former Ireland and Lions fullback Hugo MacNeill said that he feared the team was still short of the standard required to lift the Webb Ellis Cup.
Ireland have got tries from the driving line-out, the long pass and pressure paying off. However, you do not see the sort of phase-after-phase style of play.
Bundee Aki seems a nice guy and a great team man but I do not think the passing game is as fluent as it needs to be...
There is a massive dependency on Johnny Sexton in terms of leadership. It was very evident when he was not playing in the final that no one stepped forward.
Ireland need players like James Ryan and Caelan Doris to be leaders...
If Ireland are to be genuine contenders they need leaders to emerge and to develop an expansive backline game.
They are not going to trouble the Springboks in the lineouts nor the driving maul. They need to spread the ball around. I think the draw is very tough, especially when a key part of Ireland’s fortunes hang on keeping Sexton fit.
Being in a very tough side of the draw he has to play in the big games and if he is injured it will impact on Ireland’s chances...
Ireland are not at the level of winning the World Cup yet. We need to get to that level because we do not want to go out in the quarter-finals again.
This seems like a quite harsh assessment of the current state of the Ireland team. While they will no doubt look to improve in a number of areas moving forward, they have beaten all of the other contenders at this tournament over the last 18 months or so.
While success at the World Cup is far from a guarantee, they are well placed to challenge the other top nations.