The cross-fertilisation of ideas from other sports is a principle that has served rugby union well in recent years.
Who can remember what a ruck was like before judo throws became de rigeur? And it is generally accepted England would not have won the 2003 Rugby World Cup without Clive Woodward’s one-percenters.
The game’s most popular visionary would have you believe the optical specialist and the squad chef played a role in Sydney as vital in its own way as Jonny Wilkinson’s.
So why have the Welsh and Scottish rugby unions ignored the abiding lesson of the 2010 FIFA World Cup? The Peril of the Extended Contract.
Going into the tournament the Football Association decided to back its man and awarded Fabio Capello an amended deal that secured his services until after Euro 2012.
The Italian responded by overseeing the most disastrous campaign since 1950, one that revealed him to somehow span the extremes of intransigence and weakness. Quite an achievement.
Something similar happened in Wales last autumn when Warren Gatland was handed a four-year extension – at a stage when Wales had finished fourth in the last two Six Nations and had won just 16 of the 31 games over which the Kiwi had presided.
Until Saturday the Dragons then failed to win their next five matches and whilst I would say this – I wasn’t hugely impressed with what they did at Murrayfield either. I suspect a junior club could have beaten Scotland last weekend.
Which brings us neatly to the situation north of the border. In the days running up to the debacle against Wales the SRU announced they too had found the man with whom they wanted to spend the next four years.
The outcome was the worst Scottish performance since they were hammered 37-17 at home to Italy in February 2007. Indeed the only decent thing was Sean Lamont’s withering post-match critique in which he called for the uncommitted to step aside.
As it happens I don’t blame Andy Robinson for Saturday’s pitiful effort but I do blame the cash-strapped SRU for dealing away the one card it could have played over the next few seasons – for no apparent benefit.
Let’s just hope the Welsh and the Scots don’t suffer at the World Cup in the same way their round ball English counterparts did.