Early-season good vibes about Australia's Super Rugby teams are diminishing in the face of some harsh reality checks from overseas opposition.
NSW Waratahs and Queensland Reds both lost heavily at home in round 10 and the rebooted Melbourne Rebels are still searching for a first win in South Africa after suffering a 14th consecutive loss in the Republic.
The Waratahs held on to the Australian conference lead despite a 29-0 home defeat the Lions, who recorded their first win in Sydney.
NSW had won their last four games, against all of their Australian conference rivals, but were given a lesson in execution by the South African conference leaders.
The Waratahs recorded an unwanted first, having never previously being held scoreless in a Super Rugby game.
Both the Reds and Rebels are struggling to deliver on their early season promise.
The Reds lost a fourth straight game and early-season conference pacesetters the Rebels suffered a third consecutive defeat and fourth in their last five fixtures.
Their disappointment at a 28-10 loss to the Bulls in Pretoria was compounded by injuries to captain and lock Adam Coleman, brothers Dane and Ross Haylett-Petty and hooker Jordan Uelese.
The Rebels trailed 21-3 at halftime and never got the deficit down below 11 points in the second half.
Queensland were also blown away early in their 36-12 loss to New Zealand's Chiefs in Brisbane.
Reds captain and Wallabies prop James Slipper played barely 20 minutes because of a collarbone injury.
The visitors bolted to a 24-0 lead despite losing influential playmaker Damian McKenzie to a first-half head knock.
Classy centre Samu Kerevi salvaged some scoreboard respectability for the home team with two tries, but it was a 35th straight loss for an Australian Super side against New Zealand opposition.
The Crusaders remain top of the New Zealand conference after a 33-11 bonus-point home victory over the winless Sunwolves in torrential rain in Christchurch.
Only five points separate the top four Kiwi sides, in a typically tight and ultra competitive New Zealand conference.
Flanker Shannon Frizell scored three tries for the Highlanders in their 34-16 win over the hapless Blues, who have lost 15 consecutive Super games to domestic rivals.
The Lions remain 11 points clear of the Bulls in the South African conference, though the latter have now recorded three successive wins.
The Sharks shaded the Stormers 24-17 in Durban, but both teams have won just three out of nine matches.
Next round NSW have a bye while the other three Australian teams again face overseas opposition, with the Reds hosting the Lions, the Brumbies at home to the Crusaders and the Rebels playing the Stormers in Cape Town.