Eddie Jones’ side could suffer knock-on effect as Pro14 teams teach wealthier English and French rivals a lesson in the European Rugby Champions Cup
Amid all the myriad European pool permutations and head-scratching arithmetic it can be easy to lose sight of the bigger picture out on the wintry fields. This has been a Champions Cup season of vivid, gripping contrasts in which the Pro14 sides are teaching their wealthy English and French league counterparts an increasing lesson in humility.
Even if the Premiership sides, in particular, stage a last-gasp resurrection they are already scrabbling for quarter-final crumbs. It could be that England has only one representative – or possibly none – in a last eight that could contain five Pro14 sides. Two years ago there were five Premiership quarter‑finalists and none at all from the then Pro12. The pendulum has swung.