Chris Rattue serves up the good, bad and ugly from the Lions tour of New Zealand.
Us. A gripping series, and the tension during the final test was fabulous/agonising. That's what sporting magic is all about, even if the final game itself wasn't all that great.
Man of the series.
A tough one. No one stood out from the crowd over the three games. But there was something special about the English lock Maro Itoje. His selection to start in Wellington changed the flow.
Best single performance.
Brodie Retallick in the first test. He's better than good on his average nights, and hurtled into that game like two men possessed.
The Blues won a big game. Hallelujah. Tana from heaven.
Most significant turning point.
The night the Lions squashed the Crusaders and their test-class pack. Game on.
Nothing really, although from an All Black perspective Sonny Bill Williams absolutely blew it with that red card shoulder charge in Wellington.
French ref Romain Poite's dithering before changing his mind on the vital last penalty in the third test at Eden Park. Do it once, do it right fella.
Best quote No. 1.
"They didn't come out and play champagne rugby." Not exactly Jerry Seinfeld, but there was something significantly defiant about Warren Gatland's view of the All Blacks after the first test loss.
Best quote No. 2
Lions manager John Spencer, a member of the peerless 1971 team, on the Warren Gatland effect. "We set a Kiwi to catch a Kiwi." Rub it in John, why don't you?
Most likely future blockbuster.
Ngani Laumape - the New Nonu. He might already be ahead of the old one when comparing the early stages of their careers.
All Blacks playmaker Beauden Barrett. His magic runs at an end?
Lions lock Alun Wyn Jones. Tough toiler rose from the first test ashes.
Most magical moment.
The Lions' first test try, an 80-metre move started by fullback Liam Williams' scrambling counter-attack, and finished by flanker Sean O'Brien. One of the greats.
Loudest alarm bells.
The All Blacks were given a World Cup wake up call.
Kieran Read first, second and third.
See above (although that's not Read's fault)
Main surprise package.
Anthony Watson. Yes, an Englishman was the top attacking wing in the series. Keep this up, and the 23-year-old could turn out to be England's best wing since the 1970s wonder David Duckham. (apologies to Rory Underwood fans)
Air points winner.
The amazing army of Lions fans - which reached 20,000-plus - was worth points to the visitors. As captain Sam Warburton said, that is remarkable for an away team on the other side of the world.
Why anyone would doubt the Lions concept? It's unique in world sport, and should be treasured, protected.
A Lions tour without a test in the South Island? Come on - that's just not right. The Lions are special. Money motives should not over-ride tradition and romance to that extent.
Claims that a tiebreaker option is needed to validate rugby series. There is nothing wrong with a drawn series. So what happens if it's still a draw after extra time? A coin toss? A kicking contest? Forcing tired players into an extra time lolly scramble would cheapen the experience.
Gatland had a clown's nose at the ready at Eden Park.
The winning verdict.
The tour and series were about as good as it gets in a jam-packed, money-orientated era. Future Lions tours have already been shaved by two games - let's hope the pruning stops there.
Worst reality check.
Oh no... it's back to (not) Super Rugby.