Throughout November there was a sense of England and France being in denial about the true impact of the spending largesse of their respective clubs.
No one wanted to see the link between the growing number of foreign players in the Premiership and Top 14 and the declining form of the respective English and French national teams.
All Black coach Graham Henry suggested England's longer term prospects would be greatly enhanced by reducing the numbers of New Zealanders playing in the Premiership. That was easily dismissed, though, as the wishful thinking of an All Black coach sick of seeing so many of his best players lured north.
No one seemed to think in the wake of three crushing, consecutive defeats that Henry might just have a point. England were fairly awful throughout November, their one shining light, according to manager Martin Johnson, being the performances of Riki Flutey.
Yes the same Riki Flutey who couldn't hold down a place at the Hurricanes. That's what it has come to for England - picking up the scraps swept from New Zealand's table.
That's because opportunities for English and French players are desperately hard to come by.
Last weekend's Heineken Cup games showed just how much influence foreign players have in Europe now. All 24 teams were in action and almost one third were not eligible for either France, England, Scotland, Ireland, Italy or Wales.
New Zealanders constituted about a quarter of those 134 players ineligible for European teams, Pacific Islanders about a quarter and the remainder were Australians, South Africans, Argentinians and Georgians.
That is a huge number of places to give away to foreign players whose presence blocks local talent.
The numbers need further analysis to really show how detrimental the foreign invasion is to English and French rugby. While around one third of the Heineken Cup players last week were not eligible for any of the Six Nations sides, the numbers of non-English players in Premiership sides is closer to 50 per cent.
Take Gloucester as an example - they had Kiwis Greg Somerville and Willie Walker in their match-day 22 to face Calvisano last week and Pacific Islander Apo Satala. They also had Scottish caps Alasdair Dickinson and Scott and Rory Lawson, Welsh caps Gareth Cooper and Matthew Watkins and Italian internationals Carlos Nieto and Marco Bortolami.
In their 22, only 12 players were eligible for England. The foreign influence stretches deeper into the club as not included in the 22 for various reasons were Scottish lock-loose forward Alistair Strokosch and halfback Ross McMillan, Fijian backrower
Akapusi Qera, Welsh loose forward Gareth Delve and French hooker Olivier Azam.
Of a total first team squad of 38 players, 15 are not eligible to play for England.
Bath, who beat Glasgow 25-19, are another club to have a limited English flavour. In their starting 22 were New Zealanders Joe Maddock and Daniel Browne. South Africa was well represented with Butch James, Pieter Dixon at hooker and Michael Claassens at halfback. There were two Samoans in Eliota Fuimaono and Jonny Fa'amatuainu and two Australians in Shaun Berne and Justin Harrison.
Matt Stevens, a South African eligible on residency, and Michael Lipman, an Australian eligible on residency, were also in the starting XV.
That meant there were nine players not eligible for England in the 22 and like Gloucester, the wider squad is littered with foreign talent. Former Kiwi Shontayne Hape is on the books as is the New Zealand-born but Scottish-qualified Robbie Kydd and Romania's Paulica Ion.
This is the scenario across the league but it is worth looking at one other club - Leicester Tigers, one of the heavyweights of the European scene.
They played Dan Carter's Perpignan last week and in their 22 had Scott Hamilton and Aaron Mauger, South African Marco Wentzel and Fijian Seru Rabeni. They also had two Frenchmen, Julian Dupuy and Benjamin Kayser, and two Irishmen Geordan Murphy and John Murphy.
It's when you dig into the rest of their squad that it becomes alarming - New Zealanders Craig Newby, Ben Herring and Boris Stankovich; South Africans Derrick Hougaard and Ben Pienaar; Argentinians Marcus Ayerza and Santiago Bonorino; Italian Martin Castrogiovanni and Welshman Mefin Davies. That is a total of 17 foreigners in a 40-man squad.
That England can remain in denial about the seriousness of this problem is incredible. Imagine the impact on New Zealand rugby if almost half the Blues, Hurricanes and Crusaders squads were not eligible for the All Blacks.
With most Premiership teams running with squads of 40 players there are, roughly 480 professionals in the league. That compares with New Zealand where there are 140 Super 14 contracts and about 140,000 registered players.
English clubs are giving about 240 contracts to foreign players leaving about the same number for the almost 650,000 registered players.
The balance is all wrong and it is hurting England.