At first glance Richard Hill’s comments about the lack of contest at the breakdown apparent in last weekend’s scare for Worcester Warriors against Rotherham have a certain Gallic hue to them.
How many times have we heard Arsene Wenger bemoan the fact that sides like Stoke and Blackburn won’t play nicely enough for his Arsenal team to show the beauty of their football?
As if typecast, Titans played the no-nonsense northerners to Worcester’s tippy-tappy prancers at Sixways on Saturday – and Hill clearly didn’t enjoy the fact the visitors were allowed to put a spanner in the works of his new machine.
Phase after phase Rotherham trucked the ball up, sealed off and popped it back to another pod of forwards to repeat the process ad infinitum.
Hill was perfectly right to say it wasn’t pretty. But then the financial protocols of rugby union aren’t pretty either and any club benefitting from a £1.5 million parachute payment must expect those less fortunate to cut their cloth as they see fit.
And just as Bolton won’t come to the Emirates and try to pass the hosts off the field, neither are Rotherham going to rock up at Junction Six of the M5 and try to out-flank Hill’s expensively assembled team.
But Hill’s concerns aren’t merely a reference to his own team’s issues.
The former England scrum half is merely asking for the legislators to allow a fair competition at the breakdown, a situation where tackler and carrier have equal rights to the ball.
His contention is that the current situation affords the side in possession too much advantage.
This time last season the opposite was true when defenders were given their head and teams were so scared of being turned over or isolated they simply kicked down field.
But unfortunately, whichever way the rule-makers lean, there will be one group of people doing all they can to play the system.
That means the real villains of the piece are not the lawmen, the officials nor even the players – it’s the coaches.