Unequal contact hurting game
Having fulfilled his three-month watching brief, Rob Andrew today gets his hands dirty when he recommends Andy Robinson's successor to the Rugby Football Union's management board.
With Nick Mallett, rumoured to be his preferred choice, having ruled himself out of the running, Andrew is expected to go for Brian Ashton, the incumbent attack coach.
Whoever it is, power to his elbow because this England ship will turn slower than an oil tanker and is already on a predetermined course to glide straight past the World Cup.
HMS Red Rose might reach France, though the chances of it docking and its passengers disembarking to do anything meaningful are slim.
But once Mr Ashton, assuming it is he, begins working an average 25-hour day trying to salvage something from the next nine months, where should his boss turn next?
No doubt Andrew's in-tray resembles a landfill site close to its capacity with central contracts, player-release days, the Heineken Cup and promotion and relegation all screaming for his attention.
However, he should start looking at how and where the full-time and semi-professional games interface. The status quo cannot continue for much longer.
Recent weeks have seen just how perilous an existence a lower-ranking First Division side can have and it's only getting worse.
The words 'redundancy' and 'rugby' should never be in the same sentence but as long as you have some clubs lavishing millions of pounds on a remote dream, the pressure to keep up becomes ever greater.
Currently, the two paradigms co-exist uneasily in National One, a ridiculous jumble of a division containing clubs whose aspirations and means differ markedly.
Take, for instance, the case of Moseley. They have spent the best part of two months getting battered silly by each of the top six sides and Exeter, a team who would be further up the table had they not concentrated so much on building their stadium instead of their team.
Then, on Saturday, opponents who eat at a similar end of the food chain to themselves finally pitch up at Billesley Common and, lo and behold, they win for the first time in eight games. Doesn't that tell you something about the economics at play in level two?
When the professional sides play each other, it's worth watching. When the part-timers meet, it's also worth watching but who got what out of anything when Moseley spent most of November conceding 124 points and scoring eight?
What about when Pertemps Bees shipped 68 points to Bedford last season? What was the purpose of Waterloo going to Rotherham and leaking 66 points or Coventry going to the same venue and losing 56-10?
I'm not suggesting those who play for the bottom clubs don't deserve the chance to measure themselves against the professionals. They do.
Such players may train together as a team only twice weekly, but they spend virtually every other night working on their conditioning. They are, de facto, full time. Yet money talks and it's those same players who are getting bashed to pieces on far-flung fields.
The position is particularly acute in the front row. Moseley and Bees have picked up injuries to props when playing the big boys, with the former having to go to uncontested scrums on more than one occasion.
That prospect could be imminent with the latter, too. Casey Dunning's injury means the Solihull side have only three fit props, one of whom — Terry Sigley — is on loan. Were they to pick up a couple more knocks against Coventry and the set-piece could be depowered. Imagine that in a Boxing Day derby.
Quite what the solution is, I don't know, but then I'm not the Elite Director of Everything the Light Touches. What I do know, however, is that he needs to be aware that both products, the professional and semi-pro, are being damaged by unregulated contact.
Whether it means splitting the two approaches, a more equal distribution of RFU funding or — as a temporary stop-gap — simply assigning young front-row players from Premiership academies to National One clubs, I'm not sure. But what is clear is that it needs doing quickly.