I will have a pretty big pang as I watch Ireland walk out for the start of the RBS 6 Nations this year, knowing I'm not going to be involved, nevertheless I'm really looking forward to it.
I had known for a long time that I would be retiring after the World Cup, and am happy with my decision. It was dictated by an accumulation of injuries over 10 years.
The fact that one of the RBS 6 Nations countries has now won the World Cup puts additional hype on this tournament, which is fantastic, but I don't go along with the view that because England won in Australia they'll have a comfortable defence of their RBS 6 Nations championship.
I think it will be very difficult for them. They have a lot of players who are pretty tired and will miss Martin Johnson and Jonny Wilkinson.
Second place would represent a good championship for Ireland, but winning the whole thing is possible.
The schedule is tough, though, starting away in France and going to Twickenham for the third match. Being realistic, winning the championship would be very hard because of the injuries to the side.
The decision to name Brian O'Driscoll as the new captain is certainly the right one, even though Eddie O'Sullivan made it not knowing whether he would be fit for the opening game. He's a natural leader and it gives a level of stability and solidity to the side.
Iain Henderson's start to the new season may have been denied by a hip injury but he's not short of support on his road to recovery - Ulster teammate Stuart Olding vowing to do all he can for the Ireland lock.