History is now stacked against the reigning Heineken Cup champions Leinster as they seek to emulate Leicester Tigers' feat of making it back-to-back titles.
For no defending champion losing the first game in their defence of the world club game's biggest title has ever managed to hold onto their crown.
Leinster became the fourth champion outfit to lose their first Heineken Cup game after winning the title and now face an uphill struggle to hang on to their greatest prize.
Their next assignment in Pool 6 will be away to Brive on Saturday and they will travel to France knowing that their 12-9 defeat to London Irish at the RDS last Friday night was the first time since 2003 that the champions' had lost their first game the following season.
The last team to experience defeat after winning the title were three times champions Toulouse, who were beaten 23-16 by Edinburgh at Meadowbank. They recovered to reach the 2004 final, but were beaten by London Wasps at Twickenham Stadium.
A year before that, Leicester Tigers drew their first game at Neath, 16-16, as they launched their charge for a third successive title, while the only other champions to lose the first game in their defence were Ulster in 2000 and Northampton Saints in 2001.
In fact, Ulster lost all six Pool games as champions and the Saints won only one of their six. However, Ulster, Saints and Toulouse all lost away from home, leaving Leinster as the first champions to lose at home at the start of their defence.
DEFENDING THE HEINEKEN CUP
The 14 Heineken Cup champions and the results of their opening games in defence of their title:
1996 - Toulouse - beat Milan 44-26 (a)
1997 - Brive - beat Scottish Borders 56-18 (h)
1998 - Bath - did not compete in 1999
1999 - Ulster - lost to Bourgoin 12-26 (a)
2000 - Northampton Saints - lost to Biarritz Olympique 30-37 (a)
2001 - Leicester Tigers - beat Llanelli 12-9 (h)
2002 - Leicester Tigers - drew with Neath 16-16 (a)
2003 - Toulouse - lost to Edinburgh 16-23 (a)
2004 - London Wasps - beat Biarritz Olympique 25-12 (h)
2005 - Toulouse - beat Scarlets 50-28 (h)
2006 - Munster - beat Leicester Tigers 21-19 (a)
2007 - London Wasps - beat Munster 24-23 (h)
2008 - Munster - beat Montauban 19-17 (h)
2009 - Leinster - lost to London Irish 9-12 (h)
As part of the build-up to next month's Cardiff 2014 Heineken Cup and Amlin Challenge Cup finals weekend, ERC has joined forces with the WRU, Cardiff Blues and adidas to develop an annual grassroots community rugby programme targeting young players.
The Ulster Rugby full back, Jared Payne (No 15), has been suspended for two (2) weeks following an independent Disciplinary Hearing in Dublin arising from the Heineken Cup quarter-final match against Saracens at Ravenhill Stadium on Saturday, 5 April.