Pertemps Bees' director of rugby, Phil Maynard, has lambasted Rugby Football Union registration policy after his club failed in their efforts to recruit Fijian international lock Isoa Damolailai.
Maynard thought he had secured the services of the 25-year-old, who won the latest of his eight caps against Wales in November, only to run into problems finding a flight in time for him to be registered in this country.
As existing rules stand, Damolailai had to arrive in England before midnight last night to complete his registration and take his place in the squad for Sunday's match with the Cornish Pirates.
But with the former Calvisano forward unable to beat that deadline, Bees have been forced to end their interest in him and the club must now continue their battle for National One survival with just three fully-fit second-row forwards.
Maynard is not happy with what he calls 'intransigence' on the part of the governing body and he accused them of failing to understand the conditions in which smaller clubs operate.
"It's typically intransigent," Maynard said. "Even though we had his work permit and visa sorted out, because of a rule that says they have to be in this country, we've missed out.
"In every other country - apart from Scotland and Wales - you can register a player without him being there. It's just a case of them being inflexible. We have been trying to call them all day but they are not answering their phone; they've probably gone on holiday now."
Maynard has not been left with sufficient time to find a replacement either since, he claims, the deadline for getting documents to the union was last Thursday.
"Effectively, February 23 is the last day of business," he said.
Bees are just two points clear of the drop zone and must now travel to the third-placed Pirates with just Rob Walton,
Alex Davidson and back-row convert Duncan White as options in the scrum.
"It would be terrible if we dropped out of the league because we ran out of second rows," Maynard continued.
"There should be some flexibility in it, because we have suffered three career-ending injuries to second rows this season.
"At times, you can be given special dispensation in the front row so why not the second row? Who are we going to play there if we get any more injuries? [Fly-half] Tim Walsh?"
Bees have already lost Rob Hurrell and Ben Hughes so far this campaign, both players having retired on medical advice, while Will Matthews - on loan from Gloucester - has suffered a season-ending knee injury and there are concerns over the long-term fitness of Ed Orgee.
On a positive note, however, they expect to give a debut to former England international Rob Hardwick on Sunday, after he joined from London Irish until the end of the season.