Eddie Jones has swatted off calls for him to be sacked as England head coach before but something about this two-week review period he's about to enter, after winning one out of four Tests this autumn and five out of 12 in 2022, feels a little different.
The timing however is difficult. Candidates who could replace Jones are all under contract, with the Rugby Football Union facing the expensive scenario of paying off Jones and paying a fee to recruit his replacement immediately.
With that in mind, Telegraph Sport re-examines the candidates who could step in with time running out for England ahead of the Rugby World Cup.
Gatland has been heavily linked with a shock return to coach Wales if Wayne Pivac is sacked.
The British and Irish Lions head coach is under contract as director of rugby with the Chiefs in New Zealand until the summer of 2023 and has previously written in his Telegraph Sport column that he would be keen to return to Europe, suggesting that his hopes of becoming All Blacks head coach after the next Rugby World Cup have faded.
While results with the Chiefs have been middling – their best spell came when Gatland was away with the Lions in 2021, reaching the Super Rugby Aotearoa final under head coach Clayton McMillan – Gatland's work during 11 years with Wales has looked more impressive with each Test since his departure, considering he won three Grand Slams and reached the Rugby World Cup semi-finals with a far smaller player pool compared to coaching England. Improving the pack would be a priority, as would be installing a crystal-clear tactical plan and reviving the performances of Manu Tuilagi.
Considering his Test experience and relative availability, providing Wales don't bring him in first, Gatland is a strong candidate.
Likelihood rating: 7/10
The most obvious contender with his connections as a past England captain and assistant coach under Jones, and given that Borthwick has recently led a quick revival of Leicester Tigers culminating with the Gallagher Premiership title win at the end of last season.
Borthwick has appeared increasingly relaxed and open in his current role compared to when he was working with England under Jones. Leicester would be understandably reluctant to let him go but Borthwick's contract expires at the end of the 2023 season, meaning any potential buyout from the RFU would not cost the earth.
The template that has served Leicester so well – dominant forwards, precise tactical kicking and winning the air – would translate well to Test rugby, perhaps requiring the added versatility of a high-profile attack coach thrown in. Borthwick is clearly popular with the players from his previous time with England, but may feel the opportunity has come too soon and prefer to start with a clean slate after the Rugby World Cup rather than launch a salvage operation.
Bill Sweeney, the RFU's chief executive, had previously expressed a preference for England to hire a domestic head coach after Jones, with Borthwick the clear frontrunner given his Leicester success, although he backtracked on that in a recent press conference.
"It has to be the best coach, the right coach for the job. If it was an English person it makes life a bit easier. The first priority is it’s got to be the right person, if they are English then that’s great," Sweeney said. Borthwick ticks both boxes.
Likelihood rating: 8/10
The kind of out-the-box choice you once felt the RFU would never make – a breakdancing coach at Twickenham? Robertson is a serial winner, dusting off the Crusaders' trophy cabinet in recent years after the team's spell in the wilderness and turning them into a juggernaut again.
If England don't appoint him, New Zealand certainly will when 2023 rolls around (unless Ian Foster wins the Rugby World Cup). He has recently admitted that the prospect of coaching England appeals if the All Blacks job does not come his way, and is allegedly on the RFU shortlist for the job.
Robertson's contract with the New Zealand Rugby Union runs through to the end of 2024, but, crucially has an option for him to be released a year earlier should one of those big Test jobs come his way after the Rugby World Cup.
There has been a balance to the Crusaders sides of the past few years – strong set-piece, lethal finishers out wide – that England should really be trying to imitate. Notably, New Zealand didn't appoint Robertson post-2019 because he lacked experience coaching overseas or at Test level.
Likelihood rating: 6/10
O'Gara has not been shy with confirming his interest in the England job but is currently in an interesting position, serving a 10-week touchline ban in France with La Rochelle for "making remarks to a match official", having already served a previous six-week suspension this season for "disrespecting the authority of a match official".
Would that put the RFU off? Hopefully not, because O'Gara has worked wonders turning La Rochelle into a top-tier side in both France and Europe. The 'Keep Ball Alive' or 'KBA' mantra was the start but La Rochelle have a ferocious pack too with Will Skelton at its core, as Leinster found out in the Champions Cup final, a triumph built on La Rochelle's strength upfront as much as their deadly finishing out wide from Raymond Rhule and company.
Contractually, O'Gara is signed up with La Rochelle until the summer of 2024, which would require the RFU to delve a little deeper into their pockets. That being said, O'Gara would not be on the RFU's alleged three-person shortlist along with Borthwick and Robertson unless they were willing to pay.
Likelihood rating: 6/10
Rob Baxter or Mark McCall
Paired together because it's hard to imagine either director of rugby leaving their respective clubs, Exeter Chiefs and Saracens, having overseen trophy-winning eras. Both are also slightly different to the coaches above given they work more as directors of rugby overseeing operations, with less hands-on coaching and a wider approach when it comes to tactics and organisation.
"Diligent" is a word that has been used to describe McCall in the past and his outstanding success at Saracens surely has to mean he enters the conversation, the only snag being that his current contract runs until 2025.
Baxter meanwhile has worked wonders at Exeter, winning Premiership and European titles following the rise from the Championship, but has since taken a step back with fewer matchday duties this season, leaving that role to the Exeter head coach Ali Hepher. Baxter's deal expires in 2023.
Their honours speak for themselves, but it depends whether the RFU want a director of rugby at the helm overseeing operations or a hands-on coach. Given Borthwick, Robertson and O'Gara are on the apparent shortlist, you expect the latter.
Likelihood rating: 4/10
This is far from an ideal situation because if the RFU were going to make a change it absolutely should have happened after another lacklustre Six Nations earlier this year.
Borthwick is the obvious frontrunner but it comes down to timing. Does he want the job now? Or, given the immediate size of the task at hand with turning England around ahead of the Rugby World Cup, would a combination of Gatland, bringing all of his experience, and Borthwick together serve England best in the short-term, with Borthwick taking charge on his own post-2023. Perhaps such a plan would be too convoluted, but it sums up the mess England are currently in.
Robertson would be intriguing and unorthodox. O'Gara's success as a player and coach appeals. Borthwick knows the rigours of the England setup better than most and players clearly respond to him. And Gatland pulled off what now feels like a miracle with Wales. All have their strengths, but Borthwick might have the edge.