Fab Five: Australia’s Gen Next at Brisbane Tens
RUGBY UNION: The retirements of Dan Carter, Richie McCaw and Co were supposed to end an era of New Zealand dominance and see the Wallabies close the gap on their trans-Tasman rivals.
Instead, New Zealand rugby simply unleashed their next generation of stars with Beauden Barrett and Sam Cane filling the void, and the Bledisloe Cup has remained firmly in the All Blacks' hands since.
Their seamless transitions have only reinforced belief that New Zealand rugby has it over Australia when it comes to depth.
But it's not all doom and gloom for Australian rugby fans.
Just look at the immense output of talent coming through the National Rugby Championship over the last few seasons.
And the Brisbane Tens - to be held at Suncorp Stadium on Friday and Saturday - is another great stage for the future stars to show off and push for Super Rugby minutes.
We take a look at five young Aussie players who are set for breakout seasons.
The Brumbies back-rower is the real deal.
In 2016, Valetini became just the seventh Australian player to sign with a Super Rugby side while still at high school.
Standing 1.93m and weighing 113kg, Valetini is already a monster.
The 19-year-old made an almighty impression during last season's NRC for the Canberra Vikings.
His semi-final performance against Perth Spirit, in particular, was eye-catching as he showed his incredible power to stop a rampaging Isi Naisarani close to the line and secure a win for his side.
He hasn't made his Super Rugby debut yet but Valetini will push for a starting spot in a very competitive Brumbies back-row.
Almost overnight, Paenga-Amosa has emerged as the favourite to wear the No 2 jersey for the Reds in 2018.
The retirement of Wallabies captain Stephen Moore has left the hooking position completely open, with Alex Mafi and Andrew Ready also competing for the spot.
But what Paenga-Amosa has over his teammates is sheer power and size.
With long, dark hair it's impossible to miss the hulking presence of the 22-year-old.
A graduate from Endeavour Sports High, Paenga-Amosa is another product of the NRC.
A robust, brute of a hooker, Paenga-Amosa goes searching for work and hits hard.
His rock solid defence will make him an irresistible prospect for coach Brad Thorn.
From the raw power of Paenga-Amosa to the swift pass of Goddard.
With Will Genia's fractured back putting him in doubt for the Brisbane Tens, Goddard is likely to see plenty of game time this weekend along with Michael Ruru.
The Australian under-20s halfback has all the characteristics of a Super Rugby player - fast, has sound vision, kicks well off his right boot and defends well.
And that's why Goddard went from being a late call-up to the national squad to the starting No 9.
Of Indigenous heritage, Goddard signed with the Rebels last year and will apply pressure on his two more experienced teammates.
A member of New Zealand's world champion under-20s side last year, Sauni has crossed the ditch and signed with the Waratahs.
He's one of three NSW hookers heading up for the Brisbane Tens and while Tolu Latu and tournament captain Damien Fitzpatrick have the runs on the board, big things are expected of the 20-year-old.
Stuck behind the freakish Asafo Aumua, Sauni saw limited time off the bench during the under-20s World Cup but was nonetheless spotted by Australia coach Simon Cron, now an assistant at the Waratahs.
A strong runner of the ball, Sauni is athletic and has the skills to match his speed off the mark.
Along with Valetini, Fijian flyer Daugunu was a breakout player of last season's NRC.
His hat-trick helped Queensland Country seal victory in the final against Canberra Vikings.
Only a month earlier, Daugunu had been snapped up on a Super Rugby contract by the Reds.
Breathtakingly quick and possessing an ankle-breaking step, the former Fijian age-group goalkeeper scored a record 13 tries on the wing in the NRC and will be perfectly suited to Tens.