Scarlets set the European standard as Ospreys and Blues struggle
MEAT Loaf famously told us that two out of three ain't bad, so we must assume the big man wouldn't have been overly impressed with the Welsh regions' collective performance in the first round of Heineken Cup matches.
Defeats for the Ospreys and the Blues left a shadow east of the Loughor Bridge that extended all the way across to the capital city.
Maybe the losing pair will be tempted to take a dot of inspiration from the aforementioned meaty one, who takes an age, or one minute and 55 seconds to be precise, to actually start singing in his masterpiece Bat Out Of Hell. Perhaps they're still warming up their vocal chords at the Liberty and the Arms Park.
Or something like that.
Whatever, the two city-based regions need to start performing this weekend otherwise they will be effective Heineken Cup also-rans before the clocks have been put back.
You just know if that happens others will use it as a stick to beat the regions and ridicule their apparent request for extra money to join the English and French in the fledgling Rugby Champions Cup.
Already, the Blues' inept first-half display against Exeter has been stored away in the file marked 'Not to be Forgotten'. One count had them down for missing 20 tackles in that opening 40 minutes while the hosts had to make just 14 themselves. There are plenty of words to describe an effort like that but we'll settle for just the one: inexcusable.
Fortunately for the game in Wales, the Scarlets didn't disappoint. It is fair to say they didn't travel to The Stoop with great expectations, but they produced a display of high quality against Harlequins.
Undoubtedly they were helped by next to no-one giving them a prayer in Pool 4.
They were lined up as whipping boys and bonus-point fodder, as good as told they would enjoy the European experience as much as the Greeks.
It is to their immense credit, then, that they summoned a top-line performance.Not quite on a par with the wins over Toulouse and Munster in years gone by, perhaps, or the triumphs over Wasps and Leicester from the old Llanelli era, but not too far short.
Harlequins made the mistake of playing an ultra-loose game, exactly what you shouldn't do against the Scarlets, and Rhys Priestland, Jonathan Davies and the Williams gang — Scott, Jordan, Liam and Rhodri — made them pay.
"When you have a bloke who dances along a touchline to score a try when he's easier to blow into touch, that shouldn't happen," said a rueful Harlequins boss Conor O'Shea of Jordan Williams's try.
Liam Williams showed Quins what to do when faced with a wing flying down the touchline. Had Paul Sackey scored in the 78th minute the English side could have secured an undeserved draw, but Williams smashed him clean off the pitch.
The Waunarlwydd RFC product is one per cent sane, 99 per cent courage, and he has been the form full-back in Wales this season.
And while Leigh Halfpenny will have plenty of credit in the bank with Warren Gatland, Williams isn't doing his cause any harm.
There was a big performance, too, from Scott Williams, alongside Davies, while Priestland made a big statement at fly-half and Aaron Shingler's stats would have earned him a gold star in anyone's book: ten tackles, six carries, two clean breaks and two defenders beaten, plus two offloads and seven line-outs taken, one of which was a steal.
Now all Easterby's side have to do is up their game for the rest of the pool, with Racing Metro to face this weekend and Clermont Auvergne to play twice before Christmas.
But, for the time being, it is safe for their supporters to dream.
The Ospreys were understandably seething after not only failing to beat Leinster at home on Saturday but also missing out on a bonus point. "Tell the players the Ospreys are not getting f*****g anything from this game. Make sure we exit the restart," screamed the Irish province's coach Matt O'Connor to his team's water-boy after Jimmy Gopperth put them ten points ahead with two minutes to go.
Sure enough, the Ospreys didn't get anything.
They didn't deserve much, either, after a dreadful display that leaves them in deep trouble in Pool 1.
They repeatedly ran up blind alleys behind the scrum and were routed at the breakdown thanks to the tendency of too many players to become isolated. It was a woeful effort and all the back-line departures of the past three seasons appear to be catching up with the former Pro12 champions.
Their pack remains formidable, but they are in danger of being seen as all steak, no sizzle.
Nothing less than a win against Northampton Saints at Franklin's Gardens this weekend will be enough. It could even be argued they dare not return without a bonus-point triumph, but Steve Tandy would probably settle for the straight victory.
The first thing they need to remember is that they are playing in a competition where every point counts. Wasteful teams usually end up as beaten teams. If shots at goal present themselves in a tight game, they have to be taken.
It isn't beyond them to go to the east Midlands and get a win. But their forwards will need to be at their very best — and the Welsh side need to use Eli Walker more often behind the scrum. He is an electric runner but the Ospreys need to give him the room to hurt opposition teams.
While the Liberty side were struggling to make headway in the backs, one of their old boys, James Hook, was producing a masterclass against Gloucester. There is no point being rueful, but how the Ospreys could do with just a spec of Hook's magic somewhere in their backline.
As for the Blues, they were taunted at Sandy Park by Exeter fans singing Bread of Devon.
And with Toulon next up life doesn't get any easier for Phil Davies's team.
One game can change a lot in European rugby, but the trick is to make it happen.
There are no gifts in this tournament. Sides have to help themselves.