Harlequins' first step on the road to redemption was backwards after lock George Robson was sent off for head-butting just 46 seconds into the new season.
Robson’s moment of madness did nothing to help Harlequins in their efforts to rebuild a reputation shattered over the summer by the Bloodgate scandal.
But in the remaining 79 minutes there was much for the Harlequins faithful to be proud of as they provided Wasps with stern resistance at Twickenham.
There was no blood - real or otherwise - but plenty of thunder from the Quins, who defied the loss of Robson to open a 12-5 lead with tries from Ugo Monye and new signing Gonzalo Camacho.
Wasps took their time in the face of a spirited Quins resistance but eventually sealed an opening day victory with a brace of tries from debutant winger Tom Varndell and a late penalty try.
Harlequins were always going to be under the microscope at Twickenham today after being found guilty of using fake blood capsules in an attempt to cheat their way to victory in last season’s Heineken Cup quarter-final against Leinster.
One group of supporters in the south-west corner were dressed in dracula outfits, complete with capes, fangs and fake blood painted around their mouths.
The banter that had been whipping around the Twickenham bars was generally good-natured, although one Wasps fan took exception to the Harlequins mascot and doused him with a pint of beer.
After a summer of shame, this was the moment Harlequins had been desperate for. The chance to start rebuilding their reputation on the field.
Quins did indeed come out fighting and, with the match just 46 seconds old, Robson was sent off.
Steve Kefu had just fired a kick directly into touch when Robson became embroiled in an off-the-ball scuffle and aimed a head-butt at the Wasps scrum-half Joe Simpson.
Referee Dean Richards - a deliciously ironic appointment by the Rugby Football Union given the role his suspended namesake played in the Bloodgate saga - took advice from his assistant and brandished the red card.