Tommy Bowe couldn't have looked worse when he entered the fray at Murrayfield. In the space of 13 crucial minutes, he conceded two penalties - the latter of which literally ended the game, even if Ireland were camped inside their own 22 with little prospect of escape.
His introduction struck as curious; Keith Earls, who Bowe replaced, had touched down and even looked generally lively when those around him didn't. The Munster winger was Ireland's best back on a day in which they closer resembled Leinster from last season than the team which beat both Australia and New Zealand in November.
Bowe, for all his devastating impact in the plus column for Ireland over the years, transpired to have a negative effect, looking sluggish and frankly ill-disciplined.
On Monday's Second Captains, his predecessor on Ireland's right wing, Shane Horgan, criticised Joe Schmidt's call to bring him on at all. In the middle of dissecting Ireland's opening weekend defeat with Gerry Thornley, Simon Hick and Eoin McDevitt, Horgan said:
I think we have to actually address the Tommy Bowe issue as well. That looked like a nostalgic call from Joe [Schmidt], having him in the team. He'd been caught from behind by [Ian] Madigan in a game a couple of weeks ago. He hasn't been playing well. I was very surprised that he was in the 23.
He then was brought on for one of Ireland's best backs, if not their best back at the weekend. I thought Earls consistently looked sharp. He had zip in the first half when actually no players had it. He was constantly a threat. Unless he had a niggle, I don't know why [Schmidt] took him off.
And then Tommy just didn't look as if he was up to the pace of the game at all. He had a negative contribution. Now, Tommy's been amazing for Ireland, and has been a cornerstone of many, many wins, but it did smack a bit of a selection based on nostalgia.
We give Joe [Schmidt] a lot of praise, but I think you have to flag it up when an error is made.
Thornley was in agreement, and questioned why the in-form Tiernan O'Halloran hadn't been included in Schmidt's matchday squad in Bowe's stead:
Tiernan O'Halloran could have been in the matchday 23 on his form, for sure. And I couldn't really understand why Keith Earls was taken off, because he's Ireland's best finisher probably.
Both, however, agreed that we're unlikely to see many changes in Rome.
You can listen to the Second Captains breakdown of Ireland's defeat below: