Wales were well below par against Italy.
They showed glimpses of their coruscating back play but looked flat for large parts of the contest.
It was all in stark contrast to the pre-match suggestions that they would look to rack up a massive score against the underdogs, with one eye on points difference being crucial as they go in search of a third straight title.
If anything, it seemed as though the players had allowed their minds to drift toward that lofty ambition and they failed to focus on breaking down an obdurate Italian side who had not come to Cardiff to roll over and have their bellies tickled.
Wales tried to have a go with their backs far too early, without enough effort put into breaking Italian spirits first.
They never managed to put their foot on the Azzurri’s throat for long enough to extinguish their life in the game, and twice they wriggled free to keep themselves in touch.
Warren Gatland declared himself happy with the tough workout his side had been given but in truth he knows it was a chance missed to rack up the points.
A trip to Dublin will be a tougher assignment altogether next week, and Gatland will be hoping the rust has been shaken off.