Worcester Warriors 7 Northampton Saints 22
On this evidence whether John Brain, the Worcester Warriors director of rugby, cares about the Powergen Cup is somewhat irrelevant. Last year he apparently didn't, this year it is a 'high priority'.
Brain can care as little or as much as he likes but if his side play like this against Leicester next week it won't make one iota of difference, because they will lose, badly.
Poor handling, poor passing, poor decision-making, and a much-vaunted scrum rendered impotent by a solid Northampton pack did nothing to suggest anything but defeat at Welford Road.
Worcester, however, are hardly likely to play this badly again. The side that has made such a storming start in the Premiership does not become a bad one overnight, they just had one of those days when nothing worked.
Out-performed in every position, including at flanker where England hooker Steve Thompson had a mighty game for the Saints, there were, as coach Anthony Eddy put it, "no positives to be taken from a display like that".
"I was pretty disappointed," he said. "We were aiming to be a bit more attacking and a lot more positive than what we did out there today.
"With a loss like that you just move on. The players understand they've let themselves down, so there is no point yelling at them. They're all grown adults and it's their job to play rugby so we'll just get on with it."
In the pragmatism of that assessment is everything that needed to be said from a coaching point of view and yet it does not convey the dominance of the visitors, or the awfulness of the Worcester display.
As is often the case at Sixways it wasn't in the backs that the game was won or lost, it was in the forwards. Except this time it was Worcester, and not the opposition, who were battered into submission.
Such was the dominance of the Northampton forwards that at one stage the Warriors were conceding penalties at a rate of one every three minutes. When they weren't conceding penalties, their constant infringing at rucks and mauls was handing Northampton a scrummaging platform that they used ruthlessly.
With a dominant forward pack there are few deadlier in the game than Carlos Spencer.
The battle between the incumbent of the No 10 shirt at Northampton and his predecessor, Shane Drahm, was the game in microcosm - a non-contest.
When Spencer walked off the field at the end of the encounter he appeared much as he had at the start. Hair perfectly sculpted, shirt, shorts, and socks immaculate, and not a bead of sweat anywhere to be seen.
The former All Black seemingly operated at half speed for the entire game and was still a class apart. A quick half-break here, a clever scoring pass there and a chip and chase for variety and Spencer had quietly and very effectively ended Worcester's challenge before it began. In Spencer, Bruce Reihana and Ben Cohen, Northampton had a trio whose power, pace and intelligence asked questions the home side could not answer.
It took eight minutes for the visitors to go in front and, while Cohen scored, Spencer was creator and provider.
A half break, a perfect pass, and Cohen finished off one of the easier scores of his career.
Reihana added the extras and when Cohen went over again, following a fine break by Sean Lamont to make it 12-0, the game was all but over.
With their forward platform nullified Worcester tried to run the ball. Whether it was pre-planned or not, it didn't work because the handling, passing and decisionmaking was awful. A halfbreak by Gary Trueman was the most that their first-half efforts could muster and it was not much better in the second.
Although they spent more time in the Northampton half than the five minutes in the first half, Tevita Taumoepeau's try was all they could manage. By that time, Reihana had added two penalties and Sam Harding had crossed. The Saints led 22-0.
Worcester's miserable afternoon was made worse when Andre Van Niekerk suffered a suspected dislocated shoulder when attempting to tackle Cohen ten minutes from time. Dale Rasmussen was helped off shortly after with a damaged knee. A game that was well beyond Brain's men wound down to its inevitable conclusion.