British Lions centre Brian O'Driscoll was the toast of Ireland after leading his side to a record-breaking 36-6 victory over Scotland at Murrayfield.
The appointment of the Dublin ace as captain in place of the injured Keith Wood was criticised by former coach Warren Gatland but O'Driscoll responded with a man-of-the-match display as the Irish made an explosive start to the RBS 6 Nations Championship.
He overcame a high tackle from centre Brendan Laney early in the game to carve huge holes in Scotland's defence with his incisive running as Ireland halted a nine-match losing run in Edinburgh.
"It's a silly discussion to have at this point," said an irritated coach Eddie O'Sullivan. "It might have been a discussion in November when we appointed him as captain against Australia.
"We didn't know how it would go but the proof of the pudding is in the eating. His performance has been world class every time he has played for Ireland."
O'Sullivan was also indebted to fly-half David Humphreys, who was drafted into the starting line-up because of injury to Ronan O'Gara and proved his worth with a 26-point haul.
"I had no reservations about David stepping in," said the coach. "He has played superbly for Ireland and he's a consummate professional.
"We've a great luxury at the moment to have two great fly-halves and we're very fortunate that David stepped in and ran the show. He proved to everybody that he is a quality player."
After Ireland's heroic big-game hunt of the Springboks and Scotland's six-try runaround of the Pumas, the challenge of engineering the most spectacular win of the autumn series now falls on Wales, writes Peter Jackson.