GUINNESS PREMIERSHIP: Worcester Warriors 10 Leeds Carnegie 10
The only thing proved by a match that was supposed to confirm, theoretically if not mathematically, Worcester's participation in next season's Guinness Premiership was why these two sides find that status under threat.
Stalemate, more stale than mate let it be said, is the only word to describe the drab fare on show at a bitterly cold Sixways and those few who greeted the public announcer's invitation to applaud the home side with indignant catcalls, cannot not be accused of being unreasonable.
The participants were not just united by their proximity of the scoreboard and tactical limitations, both will view this match as a missed opportunity.
Leeds, in reality, needed a win to give themselves any chance of eating into their hosts' 14-point advantage in the league table. With Newcastle and Harlequins to go to Headingley Carnegie they retain hope, but the opportunity to take points off their nearest rivals has now gone.
And Mike Ruddock will rue, hopefully not permanently, his team's inability to turn undoubted supremacy in possession and territory into a third consecutive victory.
"We should have put this game away," the director of rugby said. "We are disappointed. In the last two games we set certain standards and showed we can be right up there with the big boys.
"Because we didn't get the four points we are still looking over our shoulders. We were a little bit anxious on the day, because for a long time this season we have been talking about this game and how important it was going to be.
"We thought we had made enough improvements to put Leeds away but having said that they tackled superbly and never gave up."
Leeds should be commended for that fact. Their discipline remained exemplary throughout and not once did they allow the hosts a clear shot at their posts.
Shane Drahm missed his only two kicks, conversion attempts after first half tries by Aleki Lutui and Miles Benjamin, and clearly did not feel sufficiently on song to accept a 70th minute opportunity that could have won the game.
Instead skipper Pat Sanderson opted to go for the corner and just as they had for the rest of the game, Worcester failed to drive home the lineout from an excellent position.
Ruddock backed the decision not to go for the posts when a successful kick could have
effectively relegated Leeds: "The conditions were very bad, if the kicker feels he is going to kick it he is going to offer himself up to the captain," he said.
"The danger is, even if you convert the kick, there is still enough time for them to come up the other end and get a try." Not that they had looked like doing that for an hour.
Worcester spent almost the entire second half in enemy territory - and most of that inside the 22 - but they lacked the accuracy to find their way through.
By and large they were too conservative in the red zone. Their pick and drive routine had not been especially successful, their driven lineout was too easily disrupted and, despite pushing the visitors off their own ball when Warriors had the put in, they were unable to stop their scrum wheeling.
That is not to say they shouldn't have scored enough times to secure two try bonuses. In the
last ten minutes alone they either butchered a decent opening or floundered on Leeds' defence.
Sam Tuitupou made a dynamic burst up the middle and fed the supporting Dale Rasmussen but when the Samoan looked for help Miles Benjamin was too far away and his pass could not reach.
Five minutes from time Worcester won a five-metre scrum against the head but were then turned off their own put in and when - in the last minute - Tuitupou broke through again Greg Rawlinson put the ball down.
As a result the second period was scoreless. Carnegie went ahead after eight minutes when Worcester dropped off in defending a close range lineout and former Warrior Mike MacDonald took a trick throw at the front and dived over. Alberto Di Bernardo converted.
Warriors responded after quarter-of-an-hour when Thinus Delport, Dale Rasmussen and
Drahm were all held short but Lutui wriggled over from close in.
They went ahead just before the break when Drahm floated an inviting pass for Benjamin to catch and stroll over. Di Bernardo's penalty in first half injury time tied the score and neither side was able to undo those bonds.
WORCESTER: Delport; Garvey, Rasmussen, Tuitupou, Benjamin; Drahm, Powell M (Powell R 72); Windo (Mullan 69), Lutui, Taumoepeau, Rawlinson G, Gillies (Bowley 72), Wood (Hickey 69), Sanderson, Horstmann. Replacements not used: Ruwers, Pennell, Carlisle.
LEEDS: Hinton; Holtby, Hepworth (Vickerman 40), Tuilagi (Blackett 62), Biggs; Di Bernardo, Bedford; MacDonald, Ma'asi, McGee (Hopcroft 54), Hooper, Lund, Myall, Fourie (Clark 73), Balding (Oakley 69). Replacements not used: Rawlinson R, Brooks.
Referee: Mr W Barnes (RFU)