The death at 61 of Peter Bromage less than a week after he became the most powerful man in English rugby leaves the Rugby Football Union temporarily short of a hands-on leader at the very moment it needs one most.
Bromage, a Birmingham solicitor who had also been chairman of the Test and County Cricket Board's disciplinary committee for eight years, was on the RFU committee for 15, the last six as treasurer before becoming chairman of the newly empowered executive last Friday.
Though the RFU has a new secretary, Tony Hallett succeeding Dudley Wood at the same time as Bromage's elevation, Bromage established himself as a figure of the utmost influence, not least in the debate on the imminent demise of amateurism.
With even Bill Bishop, the new RFU president, having given up on amateurism as a bad job, it would have been up to Bromage to steer a tricky course between the RFU's upholders of an outdated dispensation and those who want to keep pace with the rest of the rugby world.
However the English may feel, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand are ready to go professional whatever the International Board decides at next month's special meeting, not least now that Kerry Packer is trying to outmuscle his fellow-Australian mogul Rupert Murdoch in his influence on the game.
Bromage's successor will presumably have to come from the RFU's most senior committee men; John Jeavons-Fellows and Peter Brook, the union's IB representatives, are two alternatives.Reuse content