Injury was quite literally added to insult for Worcester Warriors during their Amlin Challenge Cup opener against Montpellier on Thursday night.
If a surprise 22-17 defeat in the tournament's very first match wasn't bad enough, the Warriors' misery was compounded by the fact that a third of their starting XV were forced off the field prematurely.
On a disappointing evening for the Sixways faithful, Matt Mullan, Marcel Garvey, Dale Rasmussen, Graham Kitchener and Shaun Ruwers all came off in discomfort and are unlikely to be available for their team's second-round match against Olympus Rugby XV Madrid next weekend.
Mullan was stretchered off after 34 minutes with a serious-looking injury, with director of rugby Mike Ruddock later confirming that the young prop's hamstring had come off the bone.
The 22-year-old enjoyed an impressive season last time out as Worcester reached the semi-finals of Europe's second-tier competition and has since been included in Martin Johnson's England Saxons squad.
Worcester are waiting for further medical advice on the extent of Mullan's injury but his absence will be a huge blow for their chances of European and domestic success.
Wing Garvey, who, like Mullan, had begun the season in some style, suffered a suspected fracture to his hand early in the second-half.
While Ruddock has the option of moving former All Black Rico Gear, who started Thursday's game at outside centre, back to his favoured position out wide, the loss of Garvey will be further bad news following Worcester's first home defeat of the season.
Second row Kitchener left Sixways with his shoulder in a sling, while the experienced Rasmussen suffered ligament damage to his knee and Ruwers picked up a tendon injury to his toe.
The directors of ERC voted unanimously at a Board meeting to postpone all decisions including the release of further instalments of ERC's distributable central revenues to the six shareholder countries until 19 February next when the Board will meet again to reconsider the issue.