While the Six Nations rivals took a breather with the tournament simmering nicely, former rugby stars had steam rising on and off the snow in the French Alps last week.
Mike Tindall, Simon Shaw, Iain Balshaw, Serge Betsen, Olivier Magne and Dimitri Yachvili were among the players to pull their boots on for the Tournoi des 6 Stations Orangina – a unique rugby tournament played in the snow at temperatures as low as minus 20 degrees Celsius.
Hitoshi Ono, Japan's record cap-holder, was also one of 30 internationals drawing in healthy crowds of locals and holidaymakers for the sixth edition of an event staged in six idyllic ski resorts over the space of seven days.
Amateurs savoured the chance to play with and against World Cup winners and legends at the picturesque Val Thorens, Les Menuires, Valmorel, La Clusaz, Chatel and Megeve.
Spectators were treated to French flair aplenty and big hits in a sevens competition with a twist under floodlights at the foot of the slopes.
A frozen pitch was no concern as players gasped for air at altitude and ploughed head first into the white stuff on the opening day of the extravaganza in Val Thorens.
La Clusaz were crowned champions for the first time in Megeve on Sunday, beating Val Thorens in the final.
But it was not just the rugby which had the pulses racing in an event which supports the Serge Betsen Academy and Rugby French Flair charities.
Big lock Ono, capped 98 times, and his former international team-mate Takuro Miuchi strapped on skis to hit the slopes for the first time in 20 years and served up sake to celebrate still being around to tell the tale later in the week.
Unsurprisingly there were no fellow skiers getting in the way of towering former England and British Lions lock Shaw.
Betsen used to strike fear into opponents during his illustrious career, but claims to take a more conservative approach on a snowboard.
"I was crazy on the field, on the snow you need to pay attention!" said the ex-France powerhouse.
Lee Mears, the ex-England and Lions hooker, said: "My liver takes a battering, but it's one of the highlights of the year.
"We played against the French for so many years and now we get to know them. They are a great bunch of lads. You discuss the battles you had, the wins and the losses. I owed Dimitri Yachvili a bit from last year, the number nines are always cheeky."
Debutant Jamie Cudmore, the recently retired Canada lock, said: "This is easily the best thing I've been involved in since retiring. It's a heavy, heavy week with the rugby and a very good time at night.”
Players partook in curling and wood-chopping contests after starting the week with a cooking class at the luxury Koh-I Nor Hotel in Val Thorens.
With some of the of stars of recent years having hit the heights, it will now be over to the current crop to bring the Six Nations to the boil and serve up a treat.
- For more information on the Tournoi des 6 Stations Orangina visit http://tournoides6stations.com/en/
|Stade teenager tragically dies after neck injury|
|Cahill may need to leave Chelsea if he wants to play, admits Sarri|
|Viktoria Plzen 2 Roma 1: Chory winner takes hosts into Europa League|
|Real Madrid 0 CSKA Moscow 3: Champions humiliated at Bernabeu|
|Sarri condemns ´disgusting´ Sterling abuse|
|Hansen hails outstanding Ben Smith ahead of Pau switch|
|Foden, Sterling start for Manchester City v Hoffenheim|
|Sky decision will not affect us in 2019, insist Froome and Thomas|
|Al Ain 3 Team Wellington 3 (aet, 4-3 on penalties): Shootout heartbreak for semi-pros in Club World|
|Jackson to remain Ravens´ starting QB despite Flacco return|
|Rams headline 2019 NFL International Series home teams|
|Rams headline International Series home teams for 2019|
|Atlanta want ´exciting football´ from new boss amid Bielsa links|
|Atlanta still yet to receive ´serious´ bid for ´Bale-like´ Almiron|
|Tottenham v Manchester United to be held at Wembley|
|Matip facing six weeks out with fractured collarbone|
|I´ve had quite a lot of calls – Brailsford encouraged by Team Sky interest|
|Afghanistan Football Federation president provisionally banned by FIFA|
|Knee injury rules Huddersfield´s Mooy out of Asian Cup|
|Arnautovic tipped for Man United move by Austria team-mate Sabitzer|
|Arsenal legend Adams to become RFL president|
|My love for football still burns strong – Toure speaks out amid talk of Premier League return|
|Noble contract extended to 2021|
|Split with Sky is an opportunity, says Brailsford|
|Van der Burgh rolls back the years, two more medals for Hosszu|
|Maitland-Niles praises Sterling for speaking out|
|Life is tough for him right now - Celtic striker Griffiths to take time away from football|
|Froome: Team Sky keen to continue with new partner|
|Emery confirms Koscielny to play against Qarabag|
|Llorente keen on Athletic return|
|I love the guy - Pocock backs under-pressure Cheika|
|Fit-again Ozil in line for Arsenal return against Qarabag|
|Raheem Sterling named Premier League Player of the Month|
|Two more Ligue 1 games postponed due to unrest|
|Pace attack among India´s best ever - Arun|
|Premier League has fostered ´excessive aggression´ among fans, says Scudamore|
|Sharks back Flanagan amid NRL investigation|
|Not good for my recovery! Hoddle delights in Spurs´ Champions League heroics|
|Harris backing Starc to fire in Perth|
|No fears over Atleti´s second-place finish for Simeone|
|Clippers buckled under Raptors pressure - Rivers|
|Icardi: Inter deserved to qualify|
|Team Sky future unclear as Sky opt to end involvement in cycling|
|PSG had to change mentality - Thiago Silva|
|Rockets make change, pick up win over Trail Blazers|
|Everything´s easier when you´ve got Messi – Miranda|
|From George Cross to Arsenal – Montemurro´s rise to make Gunners great again|
|Koulibaly challenges Napoli to win Europa League|
|Raptors star Leonard out against Clippers, may miss matchup with Warriors|
|Butler opens up about heated Timberwolves practice|
|Spurs achieved ´mission impossible´, says Pochettino|
|Dembele stunner pleases Barca boss Valverde|
|Van Dijk lauds ´fantastic´ Alisson|
|Van Dijk´s tackle on Mertens worthy of red card – Ancelotti|
|Klopp ´would have paid double´ for Alisson|
|Klopp: I don´t care about Madrid revenge mission|
|Tension and anxiety got to Inter, laments Spalletti|
|Tuchel hails magnificent PSG as Red Star win seals last-16 spot|
|Mbappe admits frank discussions inspired PSG´s Champions League progress|
|Klopp: Napoli had no answers to outstanding Liverpool|
|Pochettino proud of ´massive, massive achievement´ for Spurs|
|Barcelona equal Champions League record|
|Composed and controlled Liverpool see off Napoli to progress|
|Tenerife back to winning ways, AEK beat Hapoel|
|Howedes ´hurt´ after emotional Schalke return ends in defeat|
|Kane ´buzzing´ over ´not bad´ draw at Barcelona|
|Robertson hails Alisson´s ´unbelievable´ save as Liverpool progress|
|Red Star Belgrade 1 Paris Saint-Germain 4: Neymar brilliance helps secure Group C top spot|
|Inter 1 PSV 1: Icardi header not enough for the Nerazzurri|
|Liverpool 1 Napoli 0: Superb Salah sends Reds through|