Of the four Welsh regions, the Dragons are probably in the best position to make the semi-finals after their gutsy win over the Tigers last weekend. They have a tricky trip to Northampton on Saturday, but should win their final pool match at home to Worcester, who possibly won't be trying that hard by then. Coach Paul Turner isn't making room in the trophy cabinet just yet, though.
"I think that given the Guinness Premiership has had the luxury of better finance and a very successful A League for three years, they are playing from a position of strength," said Turner. "So, as good as some of the Welsh results were, we have to keep our feet on the ground. This was just the beginning and we have a long way to go. The last thing we need is to get carried away."
The Scarlets made a perfect start to the new-look tournament by smashing holders Leeds Tykes at Headingley, which has set up a potential semi-clinching match against Newcastle on Sunday. The Principality's "Cup Kings" had been expected to use the Powergen Cup as a breeding ground for young players as they look to consolidate their Celtic League position, but coach Gareth Jenkins sent on the big guns against the Tykes and it was one-way traffic.
"Newcastle won by 30 points against Sale Sharks and they are going to come to Stradey Park wanting to be a part of this tournament," Jenkins said. "It will be a very interesting weekend." And as for the clubs producing second-string sides for the Cup matches? "My view is, if there is something there to win, we are in it to win it."
The Blues went into their match against Saracens on the back of signing All Black legend Jonah Lomu, and the London club had no chance of matching the confidence and excitement among the 15 Blues players and more than 8,000 rejuvenated Arms Park fans. With the crowd chanting "Boring, boring England", fly-half Nicky Robinson and backrower Andy Powell ran riot in an impressive prelude to Friday night's heavyweight clash at London Wasps.
Surprisingly, Wales's only loss in the first round came from the region that everyone was tipping for silverware this season. The Ospreys travelled to Gloucester with a long injury list, but it was their discipline that proved costly in the 23-7 loss. It was a poor match - arguably the poorest of the Cup's first round - and Ospreys coach Lyn Jones will be looking for a huge improvement in Sunday's match against Bath.