A raft of domestic injuries has encouraged speculation regarding player work-load and new law trials that are bringing about more collisions at breakdowns and on the gain-line.
But what will it mean for the international scene this autumn? One month out, here is a whistle-stop tour around the home nations to see which contenders may be absent.
Autumn schedule: Argentina (November 11), Australia (November 18), Samoa (November 25)
All but ruled out: Billy Vunipola (knee), Manu Tuilagi (knee), Kyle Sinckler (suspension ending November 20)
In a race against time: Mike Brown (ankle)
Depletion rating: 2/10
As far as sheer playing numbers, the resources at Eddie Jones’ disposal are the envy of the world. Even the loss of senior players such as Vunipola (definitely) and Brown (possibly) represent opportunities rather than crippling set-backs. Who fills in at full-back - Elliot Daly, Anthony Watson and Jack Nowell seem to be major contenders with Harry Mallinder an outside bet - could actually be the key to unlocking the team’s attacking potential before Rugby World Cup 2019. Might we see dynamic Exeter Chief Sam Simmonds anchoring the scrum? In a relatively low-key autumn, these are constructive issues to confront.
Autumn schedule:South Africa (November 11), Fiji (November 18), Argentina (November 25)
All but ruled out: Jamie Heaslip (back), Garry Ringrose (shoulder)
In a race against time: Rob Kearney (hamstring), Dan Leavy (ankle), Simon Zebo (rib), Paddy Jackson (ongoing trial)
Depletion rating: 5/10
A raft of British and Irish Lions, including Conor Murray, Peter O’Mahony and Tadhg Furlong, returned at the end of September. Robbie Henshaw is back now too. Joe Schmidt will still have plenty of options and the end-of-year fixtures are hardly arduous. However, Ringrose and Leavy are two exciting individuals with the ability to be world-beaters by 2019. It would be irritating to miss this chance to give them more international experience.
Autumn schedule: Samoa (November 11), New Zealand (November 18), Australia (November 25)
All but ruled out: Mark Bennett (knee)
In a race against time: Stuart Hogg (shoulder), Jonny Gray (wrist), Alex Dunbar (knee), Alasdair Dickinson (hamstring)
Depletion rating: 3/10
Star names Hogg and Gray junior should be fit and feature but, having fought through long spells of rehab, will certainly be shaking off rust even by November. To dive straight into New Zealand is a difficult ask. Midfield could require a patch-up job as well, although Duncan Taylor of Saracens is such a classy operator.
Autumn schedule:Australia (November 11), Georgia (November 18), New Zealand (November 25), South Africa (December 2)
All but ruled out: Sam Warburton (neck), James Davies (shoulder), Ellis Jenkins (hamstring)
In a race against time: Gethin Jenkins (calf), Gareth Anscombe (groin), Scott Baldwin (hand), Ross Moriarty (back)
Depletion rating: 6/10
Warburton’s absence and the fact that Moriarty has only just returned to Gloucester training means back-row balance - and specifically the blindside flanker position - will be a cause of some head-scratching for Warren Gatland. This was Wales’ source of strength in the Six Nations. Scarlet Aaron Shingler can be the man to step up, but another tough autumn awaits - especially if the regions continue to falter.