SO it wasn't to be.

All the talk at the start of this Six Nations rugby season was of Wales winning an historic third title in succession.

Warren Gatland's team were still in with a chance before yesterday's clash with England at Twickenham.

But the English gained some measure of revenge for last year's 30-3 defeat at the Millennium Stadium with a 29-18 victory that, in truth, would have been far more comprehensive were it not for the home team's indiscipline.

And so England won the Triple Crown, Ireland are favourites to take the Six Nations title in Brian O' Driscoll's last match next week, and Wales have nothing to show for a season that promised much.

In truth, with the exception of a fine victory over France, Wales have been a shadow of the team that has dominated the Six Nations for the past two seasons.

Whether some of the more experienced players have run their course is debatable. If they have, then Gatland has some thinking to do ahead of next year's World Cup.

He has to consider whether the tournament will be a step too far for some of the players who have served their country so well in recent years.

If he believes that to be the case then sentiment has to be set aside and new faces brought in.

If not, then he has a challenge ahead of him to coax another 18 months of top-class performances from the veterans in the Welsh ranks.