Call it a "Eureka" moment, or a lightbulb moment, or the moment when the penny dropped, but I have come to a somewhat startling conclusion this week.
Please bear with me - so shocked am I by the realisation that has dawned on me that I'm going to have to take a deep breath and type this very, very, slowly...
There, I've done it, and still don't believe what's on the screen in front of me. England Need Mike Tindall.
What? You want evidence? Well, just take a look at how utterly pants England were in the 2010 Six Nations until Paris when Tindall was restored to the centres. What? More? Well, how about the difference in England's excellent performance with Tindall in the team against Australia in November and the subsequent shaky and Tindall-less effort against Samoa one week later. Not enough? May I refer you, then, to Dublin last weekend and the team's rudderless and shambolic capitulation to the Irish without the missing stand-in skipper, and compare that to the 4 preceding victories with him at the helm.
Now, I am not suggesting for one second that the presence of Iron Mike at Landsdowne Road would have resulted in an English victory (history would suggest otherwise). What I am suggesting, however, is that at the very least England's performance would have been a lot less flaky.
I'm afraid that England's failure during the last 7 years to nurture and develop a credible alternative at 13 does now mean that Tindall's presence in the team is disproportionately important. It may not be the fashionable thing to say, and he may have hands like paving slabs and all the pace and fleet-footed agility of a geriatric mollusc, but we do need to face the facts:
England Need Mike Tindall.
You know it makes sense.