Australia's ongoing beatings from New Zealand's Super Rugby juggernauts has been "incredibly difficult to watch" even for Rugby Australia's new Kiwi boss.
But RA's chief executive Raelene Castle is promising light at the end of the tunnel despite NSW, Queensland, Melbourne and the Brumbies being a collective none from six against the Crusaders, Hurricanes, Highlanders, Chiefs and Blues in 2018.
The axing of the Western Force after Australian franchises lost all 26 trans-Tasman Super Rugby encounters last year was supposed to improve the strength and depth down under in world rugby's most competitive provincial competition.
But the embarrassment continues, with the Rebels capitulating in a 55-10 home loss to the Crusaders on Saturday and the Waratahs later losing 24-21 in Sydney to the Blues, who are running a distant last in the New Zealand conference.
"It's incredibly difficult to watch, but it's also the maturity of a team," Castle said of Melbourne coach Dave Wessels, who is presiding over a team largely meshed with players from his now-defunct Force and the Rebels.
"So until they are to gel and to bring that together and actually understand the consistency of performance past halftime - because we've seen that (collapse) two or three times that this year - and actually know how to defend in the second half - that's actually the conviction you're looking for."
It won't happen overnight, but Castle believes it will happen - not only for the Rebels but all Australia's Super Rugby sides.
She maintains the decision to chop the Force, albeit one that wasn't her's but ultimately signed off by predecessor Bill Pulver, was the right one.
"Firstly it was a very difficult thing to do and we knew (that)," Castle said.
"The perfect pathway, of course you'd have the Force in there.
"The reality is trying to deliver the perfect commercial outcome so the game can be commercially sustainable. Those to things don't always match.
"Certainly what we've seen this year is some better TV audiences, we've seen some better performances - whilst obviously we haven't beaten a New Zealand team yet that and that's still what everyone's looking for."
But even Castle admits "improvement" - if that can be truly measured in a skewed conference system where the bulk of Australia's table-topping Waratahs' competition points have been accrued in derby matches - is not acceptable.
"One, it can be better than that. It has to be better than that," Castle said when asked if Australia hovering between fourth and sixth in the world rankings and the Wallabies beating the All Blacks once every couple of years was now acceptable reality.
"The history of this sport in this country is that that's not acceptable and it doesn't deliver you the fans and the commercial outcome that you're looking for."
Secondly, Castle pledged, was that Rugby Australia's new centralised coaching development program - whereby Wallabies coach Michael Cheika and his three assistants shared intelligence and strategies with the four Super Rugby franchises - would eventually yield dividends.
"We've agreed that the five to four (teams decision) was right from a high-performance point of view," she said.
The five to four, because you've got a more concentrated talent pool, "you'll see the growth over the next two years."