The Wallabies did not simply lose their captain and starting hooker on Saturday night, they lost the leader of their cultural revival.
As Ewen McKenzie digested the loss of Stephen Moore for at least the rest of the year, and second-rower Sam Carter for the series (ankle), the footballing implications were only part of the equation.
Wallabies defeat France in Test opener
Australia beat France 50-23 in their Test opener at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday night.
Carter's toughness – the debutant incurred the syndesmosis in the seventh minute but played out the match in a man of the match performance – is something McKenzie is keen to keep around.
Moore, meanwhile, had made an immediate and tangible impact on the Test side as captain and McKenzie was delighted.
He had seized upon a burgeoning confidence in the squad and galvanised a group that appeared, finally, to have had enough of coming second, third, everything but first.
"It was a massive week for him," McKenzie said on Sunday.
"I thought he'd done a brilliant job even prior to this week. He and I had worked pretty well. I was pleased with the progress we were making off the field.
"It leaves a bit of a void, because we had a lot of stuff in the pipeline and his priorities now change to rehabilitation and getting back, and we have to keep playing."
It is not all bad. The Wallabies' seven-try rout of a tired French side, all but five minutes of it executed without Moore on the field, was as encouraging a start to a season as any in recent years.
But the 91-Test Trojan's leadership was a cornerstone of a long-term project to build a Wallabies side capable of challenging for next year's World Cup.
McKenzie stopped short of confirming Michael Hooper as Moore's replacement, despite another superhuman effort and a seamless step into the captaincy role at Suncorp Stadium.
The Australian coach likes to take one step at a time and will think hard about the right leadership mix to augment Hooper's energy with some battle-hardened maturity.
Brumbies coach Stephen Larkham said Moore's influence would be missed.
"They turned a corner in Europe last year and you look at the body language from Saturday night, it's a really tight group at the moment," Larkham said.
"The team itself is in a healthy state and he is a massive part of that new culture, driving standards on and off the field."
Moore will undergo surgery on Monday. He is a mentally tough character but was predictably gutted on Sunday.
"There's nothing you can say, you go into the time warp required for it to mend," McKenzie said.
"The surgical side becomes the priority and you get on with it. He's a pragmatic guy but emotionally . . . he was obviously shattered."
Replacement hooker Tatafu Polota-Nau was immense after his captain was forced off in the fifth minute. The Wallabies did not drop a line out and were tirelessly physical.
McKenzie will most likely choose from Queensland hookers Saia Fainga'a and James Hanson to play back up to Polota-Nau and Nathan Charles. Both have Test experience.
Moore's absence will be felt in the longer term, perhaps in those seminal moments when games against better prepared sides hang in the balance.
But a look at Wycliff Palu's resurgence this season points to a silver lining for the Wallabies. Palu was injured in the Waratahs' final few games and missed the rest of the Test season last year.
He has emerged in the best shape and form of his career thanks to a long run into Super Rugby this year and the Waratahs' excellent high-performance program.
Larkham said the same could happen with Moore, presenting an excellent opportunity to freshen up a player who will be a key weapon in the Wallabies' World Cup campaign.
"It's a long road back but he's got some good guys to work with down at the Brumbies and I look back and think about some of the seasons we had when we'd been given a full pre-season," he said.
"It could be a blessing in disguise leading into the World Cup. It is a massive indicator for the season, how well they feel coming into it. You saw the same with Pat McCabe and [Brumbies back] Robbie Coleman."