The size of Hurricanes coach Jason Holland's task in the post-Beauden Barrett era has quickly become apparent during their comprehensive defeat by the Stormers in Cape Town which was characterised by near constant errors and a lack of direction.
The Stormers, with Springboks halfback Herschel Jantjies superb and backed up most prominently by loose forward Pieter-Steph du Toit, another who shone for the world champions in Japan last year, shut out the visitors at Newlands for a bonus-point four-tries-to-nil victory.
They played with poise and controlled aggression in front of a crowd bathed in sunshine who were probably amazed by how easy it all appeared. Their opponents, who lost midfielder Billy Proctor and replacement loose forward Vaea Fifita to second-half yellow cards, were near clueless on attack and their main weapons Ngani Laumape, Ben Lam and Jordie Barrett hardly saw the ball.
Proctor was shown a yellow card by referee Jaco Peyper for an off-the-ball shoulder charge on No 10 Damian Willemse, who was a constant danger for the Stormers. Fifita was sinbinned for a high tackle on replacement hooker Siyabonga Ntubeni. It would have been a red card had Ntubeni not been judged to have dipped into the tackle at the last moment.
It was a miserable way for Holland, expecting to be an assistant coach again this season until John Plumtree moved into Ian Foster's inner circle, to start his career as Hurricanes head coach and he and his side now face the prospect of another long-haul flight to Buenos Aires to play the Jaguares.
Given how the Hurricanes scrum struggled throughout this match, finding a quick fix before meeting a giant Argentine pack in seven days will be another priority.
"There are a good few of our boys who will be better for the run but we need to make sure we put pressure on each other to get better," Holland said.
"It won't be too hard [to bounce back] because we'll get some really clear pictures when we review. It will shape what we do for the week around how we want to play in Argentina. Tactically we didn't really get through what we wanted to do so the plan won't change too much, it will just be a case of getting the travel in, recovering, and getting the execution right.
The Hurricanes were quickly under penalty pressure, and, with returning All Blacks halfback TJ Perenara and first-five Fletcher Smith denied time and space by a well-drilled pack including two other Boks loose forwards in Siya Kolisi and Jaco Coetzee and in-form prop Steven Kitshoff, the visitors chased the game from the start.
It was a dream Stormers debut for former Wales and British and Irish Lions midfielder Jamie Roberts, who was required to make only six tackles.
"We made a lot of mistakes, especially early in the game, that let the Stormers get on top of us," skipper Perenara said.
"The Stormers did a lot of good work and put us under pressure. It's a tough place to come and play but we have to look at ourselves in the mirror. We made a lot of errors that we need to go through and fix."
Jamie Booth, who replaced Perenara after 50 minutes, enjoyed a couple of bright moments on attack but it was his intercepted pass off a rare attacking scrum which allowed first-five Willemse to score a length-of-the-field try. It was the story of the match.
"We came up with a plan and it didn't really work," said No 8 Gareth Evans, himself guilty of throwing a loose pass which led to Jantjies' try. "Obviously our discipline let us down and we were chasing the game after that first 40 minutes. The Stormers were pretty strong up front and in the set piece."
Stormers 27 (Sergeal Petersen, Steven Kitshoff, Herschel Jantjies, Damian Willemse tries; Damian Willemse 2 cons, pen)