A Lions team playing significantly below their potential - according to their coach Johan Ackermann- still managed to give the Sharks a fresh hiding, with the 27-10 scoreline flattering the hosts.
Sharks coach Robert du Preez was at a loss for words when asked why his team had delivered such a lame performance.
“Maybe you should ask the players, ....” Du Preez said tersely. “I can’t answer that question. Maybe you (the press) can tell me. The Lions outplayed us in every area of the game. So it was very disappointing and I just feel there was no effort.
“I do not mind losing if you have given your best, and the fans would be happy with that, but if you come out on your home ground and get beaten up and make so many errors ... well that is not good enough for the Sharks."
When pressed for an explanation for the players’ lack or urgency, Du Preez wondered if the result earlier in the day (the Hurricanes beat the Crusaders to mean a Lions win would mean a Sharks quarter-final in Johannesburg rather than Christchurch) had subconsciously affected the players.
“There is no doubt that we have a good rugby team, but you have to look at the mental state of mind of the players and how switched on they were,” Du Preez said.
“Maybe in the back of their minds was the possibility of travelling to New Zealand, I don’t know, but no ways could that (sub conscious) factor explain why we played so badly.”
Many rugby followers across the country were surprised that Du Preez could not find a place for Curwin Bosch in the starting line-up, either at fullback or flyhalf.
“To repeat what I said during the week, I wanted to give Garth (April) another opportunity because he played well against the Bulls and Lwazi (Mvovo) has been good on attack and defence when we have played him at 15. We wanted continuity,” Du Preez explained.