So England coach Brian Ashton has thought the unthinkable and dropped the talismanic Jonny Wilkinson from the team to face Ireland.
Twenty-year-old wonder kid Danny Cipriani, back in the squad after his detention for talking after lights out, has been handed the fly-half shirt.
Wilkinsonís dire display in the defeat against Scotland on Saturday had led to a host of observers to call for his head.
The fact Wilkinson is the only player to be axed comes as a major surprise, and dropping him purely on form for the first time in his England career cannot have been easy for Ashton.
The plus column in the ledger of England's biggest rugby star is substantial: To whit, one World Cup (priceless); one Grand Slam, 1099 international points (a record), 69 England caps and a nationís eternal gratitude.
The debit column is less tangible, containing items such as loss of form, inability to effectively utilise possession and a kicking game out of hand - his place-kicking in the Six Nations has been solid - which has fallen apart.
England were shocking at Murrayfield and although Wilkinson was not the only player to fail in difficult conditions on a foul day, the criticism he attracted was not gratuitous.
Wilikinsonís place in English rugby legend is rightly untouchable, but his continuing presence rightly is not.
Since bursting back onto the scene with a truly remarkable performance against Scotland in 2007, he has performed at or near the high standards he demands from himself only sporadically.
Yes, his nerveless place-kicking took England all the way to a second consecutive World Cup final.
But his inability to spark Englandís backline was a concern all through the tournament and was exposed as the defending champions fell against South Africa at the final hurdle.
Post-France the erratic form has continued and Saturdayís sorry show was the final straw for many observers, including Ashton.
The physical battering Wilkinson has taken over the years has clearly, for this observer at least, diminished his ability to play the game at the very highest level.
His kicking from hand is struggling for length as much as direction, and that must be due to physical factors.
That knowledge has to be weighing on him and contributing to his wider problems with decision making during matches.
Wilkinson is as honest a sportsman as they come, never gives less than 100% and has touched heights few can imagine.
Taking the decision to drop him must have felt a bit like showing that nasty man with the gun which bush Bambi was cowering behind.
Whether he deserves to be the only player axed after the Murrayfield disaster is a moot point.
But the fact is Wilkinson has not been performing, England have been suffering and Ashton needed to bite the bullet.