Communication, we are told, is a key part to succeeding on the rugby pitch. Unfortunately, the skill seems to have been lost somewhere up the chain at Lansdowne Road, where the battle lines have been drawn between the IRFU and their players ahead of crunch talks.
The union has long enjoyed a fruitful partnership with Rugby Players Ireland (RPI), the body that represents its stars, but the trust built over the last decade has been undermined significantly by a newspaper report on Friday, accompanied by quotes from the IRFU communications director, that the players are in for a 20 per cent pay cut.
While communication lines have been open throughout the Covid-19 crisis, this was the first time that a figure had been mentioned.
Meetings are scheduled for this week and the RPI want to have a look at the union's books to establish the true extent of the issues brought about by rugby's stoppage before they come to any arrangement on their pay.
The IRFU reported its best financial year of all time in 2019, boasting a €3.2m surplus at their Annual Council Meeting last July. Their revenues hit €87.5m, while they also reported exceptional income of €25m from the sale of lands at Newlands Cross that was earmarked for investment in the club game.
Its cash reserves are being eroded by the current stoppage and Philip Browne has said the union will lose between €15-20m if international rugby does not take place in 2020.
That figure will be between €10-15m if the remaining Six Nations matches and November internationals are staged behind closed doors. The union is in a strong financial position on the back of their top players' performances in the green jersey.
The senior men's international team accounts for 81 per cent of the union's income, but now those players are among a contingent of professionals across the four provinces and in the union's Sevens programme who are learning about pay cuts in the press.
With non-playing staff set to be reduced to four-day weeks in order to keep the show on the road, the players understood they would have to play their part and are willing to engage in the process.
In March, they worked with the union to achieve a pay deferral scheme that saw the highest earners take a 50 per cent hit with the cuts then phased on a tiered basis so that those on a lower income suffered less.
"Everyone around the world is taking pay cuts right now," star winger Jacob Stockdale said. "I don't think us as rugby players believe we should be any different. I would rather see everyone take a pay cut than one or two players lose a contract."
The deferrals are set to expire at the end of this month, meaning the two bodies must plot a way forward.
Friday's reports have soured the mood ahead of the negotiations, with players understandably upset at learning of the union's intention in the public domain before they've had a chance to assess the situation.
A crude 20 per cent cut across the board will be harmful to players at every level of the game, depriving those on €400,000-plus of a substantial amount of money but putting those on €50,000 or less under pressure to pay their bills.
Yesterday, the RPI issued a statement saying it was "very disappointed to see recent media reports about proposed cuts.
"We are in the very early phase of discussions with the IRFU to establish fully the current and long-term financial position of the Union and only then can the players fully consider any proposal," it added.
IRFU communication director Stephen McNamara was quoted as saying: "The IRFU is in discussion with RPI in relation to savings in the professional game. These arrangements will remain under constant review."
In recent years, the IRFU has adopted an aggressive, adversarial Public Relations strategy. During the pandemic, they have largely limited media engagement to increasingly opaque one-line statements.
Browne's virtual press conference, in which journalists were limited to two questions each, was the only opportunity to find out the impact of the shutdown on the union's coffers.
On that call, Browne paved the way for pay cuts and this week the two sides will sit down to discuss how that might be achieved.
Now, they know what is expected of them but finding out in print rather than in person makes a deal harder to achieve.
The players, who put themselves in harm's way on a weekly basis, deserved better.