Once again, Wales showed plenty of commitment against France but were let down by that lack of quality which has hampered them throughout the 2003 RBS 6 Nations. I do think the current side will get better because it is still very inexperienced, but I also worry about how scarred the youngsters will be mentally if they keep on losing. There are some talented players available to Steve Hansen - now we have to see how they react to their recent results.
There is undoubtedly a lack of physical and mental toughness among the players, and not enough presence on the field. On Sunday we saw in Ireland the importance of experience and power - Martin Johnson and Lawrence Dallaglio were absolutely immense for England, head and shoulders above everyone else. That unfortunately takes years to develop, and Wales do not yet have the same level of intensity.
In Paris it seemed to me that several of the squad were still a bit tired from the previous weekend's defeat to Ireland. When other teams step up a gear or two, Wales begin to suffer because they cannot do the same. In the international arena, there is only so long you can hold on for.
On the positive side, a lot of the younger players have been exposed to the requirements of international rugby and what it takes to win at this level. I hope they can learn from that, and it will be interesting to see which players are able to cope and come back as stronger competitors. The Welsh have a difficult summer ahead, and they cannot afford to chase shadows when they tour Australia and New Zealand.
Looking back at the 2003 RBS 6 Nations, Wales produced three commendable performances but two dire ones against Italy and Scotland. It is not easy to take too many positives into the World Cup although as I have said the current side has potential.
England, in comparison, must now be very confident after a truly awesome win in Ireland. That is without question one of the best performances I have ever seen by an English side and they destroyed Eddie O'Sullivan's team. The key to them winning the World Cup is whether they can sustain that level of performance over a substantial period of time.