Sale's hopes of achieving a third top-six finish in five years ended after only their first game of the 2015-16 season having been humiliated 41-3 at Allianz Park by a Saracens side, who, on the basis of this performance, are fully deserving of their mantle of 'reigning champions.
Anybody in attendance or watching the game online can attest that Sale were simply appalling on Saturday afternoon; a Danny Cipriani penalty the only points the Sharks were able to muster against a fearsome Saracens defence that conclusively smothered Sale all afternoon.
Indeed on the basis of this weekend's performances Sale should be more concerned about the possibility of being usurped by Worcester as the favourites to be relegated from the Premiership than being in contention to qualify for next season's Champions Cup.
Credit where credit is due, Saracens ubiquitously played Sale off the park to open both sides' seasons, but worryingly, this was supposed to be an understrength Saracens side that Sale could potentially have scalped to kick start their season. Instead the stark contrast between the ability of the very best Premiership sides and this year's iteration of Sale Sharks was laid bare for all to see on Saturday.
The first home game of Sale's season is next Friday; a suddenly pivotal clash that could shape the direction of Sale's season after only two games. A win would certainly settle the rattled nerves suffered this weekend, a loss could signal another season similar to the disaster that was 2012-13.