When you are winless at the foot of the table, there can be no more daunting a task than a trip to the unbeaten league leaders.
That is the challenge that faces Rotherham Titans this lunchtime when they visit promotion-favourites Bristol.
It is less than three years since the two were in play-off semi-final opposition against each other, with Bristol having been up and down since then and Rotherham sinking fast.
Repreived from relegation last season by London Welsh’s financial implosion, they have failed to win a single game in seven attempts this campaign.
However, head coach Andy Key remains positive, and has been heartened by recent performances, notably last time out when they gave promotion-hopefuls Ealing Trailfinders a real scare.
“It’s about putting consistent performances back to back,” said Key. “I think we have started to do that; the last three weeks against Connacht, Richmond and Ealing has shown us that the side is starting to grow and they are building in confidence.
“When you take on a side like Ealing, to nil them as far as try-scoring in the second half and then see them taking a penalty with about three minutes remaining in order to ensure they had a five-point lead, was them giving us respect as regards the way we were playing.”
Nevertheless, there can be no more demanding a test in the second tier than a trip to Bristol.
“The game will be a quick, physical encounter; they’re a side who like to play and score lots of tries; so we’re under no illusions as to the task in hand,” added Key.
“But having watched them closely we understand how they play; we are very excited and we believe we can go there and give a good account of ourselves.”
Rotherham haven’t beaten Bristol in their last 10 attempts.