IF form is really so temporary and class really so permanent, wouldn't Lester Piggott still be riding Derby winners?
That Ronan O'Gara, still notably unworthy of a freshly minted contract with either his provincial paymasters or his IRFU employers, is seemingly the only realistic option for Declan Kidney at out-half has prompted apoplexy amongst many Irish rugby supporters.
None of us should be surprised that the invisible sniper's bullet which crumpled Jonny Sexton in a heap two Sundays ago should leave Ireland in this position.
But still so many of us are.
It is impossible to throw a stone down Grafton Street without hitting a former Irish international turned pundit.
It is even harder still, having clocked one of them on the noggin, to force a definitive answer from their lips as to who, recognising O'Gara's wretched form, should start in his stead.
Watch them mumble incoherently before grudgingly conceding that, yes, O'Gara's experience will hold sway simply because he has the experience and the other pretenders do not.
Paul Wallace, creditably, is the only significant pundit to confidently declare that Ian Madigan, not O'Gara or Paddy Jackson, should start against the Scots at Murrayfield.
The confusion is not limited to these shores.
Take this contribution from former England and Lions midfield maestro Jeremy Guscott yesterday.
"By having Ronan O'Gara on the bench at the start of this Six Nations, it would seem very odd to suddenly make him redundant and go for the less experienced lads," he says.
"Kidney has made it clear, by his selection of O'Gara, that Jackson isn't ready, but I would disagree.
"Looking at the Rugby World Cup, O'Gara would do well to make it and Kidney needs to blood a few more youngsters into the squad by selection rather than forced by injuries.
"Craig Gilroy and Simon Zebo have had the exposure and played well, and I believe a player of Jackson's quality would do the same. I would start with O'Gara at 10 because of continuity."
So there you have it. Guscott disagrees that Jackson is not ready to step up and in the same breath insists that O'Gara must start. Confusing, much?
The confusion has been all of this Irish management team's making. Remember, when the training squad for last November's internationals was released, there were only two out-halves included – Sexton and O'Gara.
No Madigan. No Ian Keatley. And, intriguingly given his current status, no Jackson.
Hence, Kidney deigned to start this most definitive season of his international career with his ageing pivot as definitively his second-in-command.
In mitigation, Jackson was involved in the fringes of the Irish set-up last season, a factor to which Kidney alluded when selecting the Ulster youngster for his promising stint against the Fijians in Limerick when he was eventually drafted in last November.
Kidney sees in Jackson a microcosm of O'Gara, a player who will adhere slavishly to a pronounced system – presumably one less chaotically designed than that which faltered so miserably against England.
So, should O'Gara become crocked with either a mental or physical frailty, Kidney knows he can trust Jackson.
"We want to keep it structured," was Jackson's mantra ahead of that Fiji game. It was clear that he had earned Kidney's trust.
Just not enough, it seems, to start against Scotland this Sunday.
It has been Jackson's misfortune that, just as it might have seemed possible for him to edge himself into clearer contention to start for Ireland, his form has plummeted in recent months.
Operating beneath the shadow of the inestimable Ruan Pienaar for his province, such that he was even dropped for a pivotal Heineken Cup away game in Castres, hasn't helped. His place-kicking, when he has been called upon to do so, has not been of the required standard, engendering yet more frayed nerves amongst Irish fans given O'Gara's recent travails from the tee.
For all that, Kidney still trusts him. And, this is key, he trusts him more than either Ian, Keatley or Madigan, whose temperaments at this level remain untested.
At yesterday's press conference, assistant coach Les Kiss was making all the right noises about there being a straight fight for the out-half berth, but supporters know differently.
Realistically, there is no debate – in terms of either starter or replacement.
Within the camp, there has been a stern debate about the scattergun tactics that cost Ireland so dearly against England – clearly, the players' indiscipline and error-ridden infractions reflected the utter confusion.
Kidney, under pressure from his leading peer group of players, must now retreat into a more hidebound modus operandi against the limited Scots; such is the perilous nature of this championship campaign.
Caution is the watchword. And, with a team shorn of more than a third of its likely starters, Ireland cannot afford to introduce any semblance of indulgence in the pivotal position.
Hence O'Gara and Jackson will inculcate a predominantly moribund game-plan, one entirely contrary to the one that disintegrated so rapidly against the English, with territory and retention of possession the key.
This could, of course, be achieved with an out-half more used to attacking the gain-line, a la Sexton, but a crisis situation demands a response within limited boundaries.
Ulster created waves when they dumped Ian Humphreys at the knock-out stages of then Heineken Cup last season but, in hindsight, it was not a surprising move at all.
Jackson offered a steelier defensive resolve than Humphreys and a more coherent approach to guiding his side around the field.
These traits offer the perfect back-up plan should O'Gara falter, as so many supporters fear is highly likely.
That Ireland have restricted their options to just these pair is not entirely surprising; the frantic nature of securing back-up to Mike Ross and the indecision in terms of Gordon D'Arcy's replacement undermines all the fine talk of squad development.
The fact remains, for all the hyperbole about Madigan, Jackson is in prime position to become Sexton's long-term shadow.
O'Gara remains, for good or ill, a short-term option; that awful cliche, horses for courses, applies.
Whether he can recapture his glory days could go a long way to determining whether his coach's future is also of the short-term variety.
For both men are scrapping desperately to convince that they are worthy of extending their international careers.