Durban - Pumas coach Jimmy Stonehouse felt his team were beaten by themselves rather than the Sharks in Friday's 34-17 Currie Cup loss at Kings Park in Durban.
The defending champions, who trailed 7-6 at the break and were behind their visitors for most of the game, needed a strong second-half showing to secure the win and maintain their 100 percent start to the competition.
“I think we gave the game away, it's not that they beat us,” said Stonehouse, South Africa's Coach of the Year last year.
“We made a lot of mistakes, especially at the line-out, so I think we were our own enemy, not the Sharks.
“There were lot of harsh penalties against us, but if you make your own mistakes then you only have yourself to blame.”
The Sharks secured four tries in the second 40 minutes, three of them after line-outs, thanks to SP Marais, Jacques Botes, Tera Mtembu and Monde Hadebe, to claim the additional bonus-point score.
The men from Mpumalanga, meanwhile, who made a triumphant start to the competition when they upset the Free State Cheetahs 28-21 last week, threatened an upset once more after tries of their own through Frikkie Spies and Renaldo Bothma.
Stonehouse felt the two encouraging performances by his side bode well for his charges.
“I think the people out there must decide whether we send a message or not,” he added.
“I think it's clear and obvious that the Pumas are here to play a great brand of rugby and must be in the Currie Cup Premier Division.
“I think the word is out there. The score isn't that good today, but obviously everybody that knows rugby will say it could have been the other way.
“I think the message is there... come to Mbombela, be on your A game, and the day when you don't turn up at your own stadium, you will have problems.”
Sharks coach Brad Macleod-Henderson, whose charges opened the competition with a 31-24 win over Griquas in Kimberley last week, lauded his side's second-half showing, saying that patience was also important in the eventual outcome.
“In the first half we thought we had them on the edge, but they worked very hard, they cut us down and maybe we were a bit unlucky not to get a try or two,” he said.
“In the second half, the opportunities pretty much opened up straight down through the middle, really.
“We had a few good mauls, they thought we were going to use our backs all the time and we went a bit more direct. It was just a great second half and we're pleased with the outcome.”
But he admitted there were still areas to improve on for next week's clash against the Cheetahs on the east coast.
“You're always looking for the perfect game, so maybe we need to work on our penalty count a bit more. But four tries, in a night game and with a lot of moisture around, is a good performance.”