CAPE TOWN – South African outfits the Southern Kings and Cheetahs suffered debut PRO14 defeats to the Scarlets and Ulster, respectively, on the weekend.
The Kings endured 42 unanswered points in the second half, eventually losing 57-10 in Llanelli on Saturday.
"We are a little bit disappointed about the result. You can see why the Scarlets are the defending champions. We will have to go back to the drawing board and put things back together," said Kings captain Michael Willemse.
"We have a lot to work on. We have to iron out a lot of silly errors, particularly on the knock-ons. The Scarlets were excellent in capitalising on our knock-ons. They really punished us there. The finer details have to be sorted out by us - and I'm backing us to do a lot better the next time around."
While they managed just one try, from Yaw Penxe, the hosts conceded eight, two of which were scored by Man of the Match Johnny McNichol.
"That was a game of high pace. We enjoyed going at it hard. We had to have some stiff words with each other - and the game was played at a pace similar to what we have seen in Super Rugby," said McNichol.
"I particularly enjoyed my first try, which was a good finish. The second was just a bit of a lollipop that was given to me. This was a good game of rugby and we are going to look to build from here."
Friday saw the Cheetahs go down 42-19 in Belfast, where a string of former Sharks players featured for Ulster, including Jean Deysel, Louis Ludik, Wiehahn Herbst and Marcell Coetzee. Deysel won the Man of the Match award.
Characteristically solid on attack, the Cheetahs endured familiar failings on defence. The home side, meanwhile, benefited entirely from the solid performance of new fly-half Christian Lealiifano. The Australian pivot played 19 Tests between 2013 and 2016 - and recently made a promising comeback after battling leukaemia.
"We wanted better than that, but will have to do a better job the next time. All credit to Ulster, who showed up and showed us what a good team they are," said Cheeetahs captain Niell Jordaan.