Six weeks ago, I played my last professional game of rugby. The chapter of my life that started with my debut at Newcastle at the age of 19, ended at 36 in Oxford with the final shrill of a referee's whistle. Just like that, Tom May, London Welsh captain became Tom May former rugby player. So what now?
Now is the time for England to march on from their developmental stage and deliver, these were the overarching messages from the men in charge at the first squad announcement of the year just 14 days ago. In last year's RBS 6 Nations England matured greatly and to be true contenders come September that is what they will need to do again this year.
There are rarely any dull moments; huge collisions, eye-watering feat, fierce rivalries and deft skills means that if you switch off for a second during a match you'll miss something... Rugby is a physically dangerous sport, on a weekly and even daily basis players put their bodies and indeed lives on the line.
Alternate proposals to fill the void left by an absent European Cup have considerably more failings than any imperfections they were dreamt up to fix. Remember that the two main reasons for the current European shambles are a dissatisfaction with the lack of meritocracy, and a skewed distribution of remuneration.