Eddie O'Sullivan claims Ireland's succession planning is being hindered by the influx of overseas players into the provincial system.
Ireland A suffered a record 67-7 defeat by their Scottish counterparts on Friday night, a result that has sent shock waves through Lansdowne Road.
The team contained four members of the World Cup squad, alongside several future Test prospects, and O'Sullivan believes the result exposed the illusion that there is depth to Irish rugby.
O'Sullivan fears the growing number of foreign players competing for the likes of Munster and Leinster is slowing the production line of young Irish talent.
Both provinces fielded four non-qualified players in their back lines for the last round of league matches.
Crucially, both selected an overseas signing at fly-half - a position where there is a chronic shortage of back-up for Ireland's first-choice playmaker Ronan O'Gara.
While O'Sullivan is sympathetic to the provinces' obligation to assemble the strongest possible squad, he fears the damage their recruitment policies will do to the national side.
"The numbers of overseas players in Ireland has always been a concern," he said.
"There are some good young players who are being held out at the moment.
"That’s not a criticism of the provinces. They have a job to do as well, and that’s the tricky part for us.
"We’re trying to compete in the European Cup and league but we are basing our playing pool around four provincial teams.
"England base theirs around the 12 Guinness Premiership clubs, so they can afford to have more foreign players in the mix without diluting their playing pool as much.
"This is the way the professional game is developing right now, and this issue shows there are still growing pains."
O'Sullivan believes the shortcomings of the existing system were illustrated in the rout of his A side in Perth.
"That was a bit of a shock result for everyone. If you look at that A team, I don’t think it was a bad one," he said.
"A lot of the players we put out against Scotland A are guys who aren’t really starting in the Magners League.
"They’re not really getting enough exposure at the professional end of the game on a week in, week out basis.
"So there are certain areas of our pipeline that are jammed up.
"I’m not saying that the players aren’t out there - there are actually some very good young guys in the system - but it’s all about exposure."
O'Sullivan, who has autonomy over access to his Test players, is reluctant to approve the departure of Irish talent overseas because of the subsequent loss of control over availability.
Ireland stars Eoin Reddan and Geordan Murphy have forged their reputations in the Premiership for Wasps and Leicester respectively, but O'Sullivan is keen to avoid a mass exodus.
"The danger with the guys going overseas is that we don't see them as much as we'd like to, and there's all sorts of issues getting them back to train and to manage," he said.
"I think that problem will be exacerbated next year. We've already had red flags this year getting players over for squad sessions.
"There's a bigger political picture at play here - the dynamics of the professional game between club and country - and we're caught in the crossfire."