If this year's RBS 6 Nations follows the formbook, Scotland's clash with Ireland at Murrayfield should be the battle for third place.
Both teams completed clean sweeps during the Autumn internationals - including a prized southern hemisphere scalp apiece - and with the World Cup just months away, now's the time to build on those performances.
Ireland's triumph over World Champions Australia in November and the form shown by Irish provinces in the Heineken Cup prove Eddie O'Sullivan's men have all the tools to compete at the highest level, but they must overcome their Murrayfield jinx.
Their last victory in Edinburgh was 18 years ago and they face an almighty challenge again this season as Scotland look to shed the inconsistency which has troubled them for so long.
Scotland have the edge up-front where the likes of Tom Smith, Scott Murray and Simon Taylor will guarantee a steady stream of possession which will be put to good use by half-backs Bryan Redpath and Gordon Ross.
But beyond fly-half the Scots are possibly limited, lacking penetration and gas out wide - a weakness Ireland can exploit through skipper Brian O'Driscoll.
The Ireland star is just the player to capitalise on Scotland's threequarter limitations and expect to see him launch several devastating raids from outside-centre.
A tight game could be decided by the form on the day of the two kickers, David Humphreys and Scotland's Gordon Ross.
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.