THE ROT set in with dreary warm-up matches, deteriorated during a dreadful group stage in which England failed to get out of first gear, and culminated in a player uprising.
No, not the current football squad but their rugby counterparts at the 2007 World Cup in France – and they still made it to the final and came within a questionable disallowed try of winning the trophy.
It may not look healthy – or be a terribly edifying proposition – that England’s top footballers feel in a strong enough position to tell their manager where he is going wrong.
But if history is anything to go, then last night’s meeting might just prove to be the turning point. It certainly did not do England’s rugby players any harm when a clutch of senior stars decided to air their grievances over tactics three years ago.
It is a dangerous ploy. But now they have done it we can only hope it represents a masterstroke and not a huge error of judgement.