The trajectory of the negotiations that started over a year ago to agree a new accord beyond the current season, is a tale of brinkmanship resulting from the abandonment of meaningful cooperation and a refusal to even contemplate change. Myopia is the common theme here and no group is blameless in this episode.
England are right to exclude overseas-based players from the national team. It's no secret that the giants of the French Top 14 are prepared to splash some serious cash to snap up top players. Racing Metro and Toulon in particular let their chequebooks do the talking over the close season; the Parisian giants snapped up the likes of Dan Lydiate, Jamie Roberts and Jonny Sexton, while their south coast rivals added South Africa legend Bryan Habana and others to their already star-studded squad.