We were simply not good enough this weekend
The Sharks can take heart from their big win over the Bulls, but they have not done the Lions any favours.
Bulls coach Frans Ludeke spoke of his team being "simply not good enough" in their 10-32 loss to the Sharks in Durban last Friday.
However, he also issued a veiled warning to the Lions, their opponents in the final round of league action before the play-offs.
Ludeke admitted his charges will "take a big step up" in terms of their intensity when they host their neighbours in the trans-Jukskei derby this coming Saturday.
The Bulls mentor admitted his team was outplayed a by "desperate" Sharks side in Durban - the first time this season the Bulls did not collect a losing bonus point in a match in which they were beaten.
All five their other defeats were within the one-score (seven-point) margin.
And the Lions may well feel the wrath of a Bulls team determined to secure a play-off spot,
He dismissed the notion that his team lacks the consistency to kick on in the business end of the season.
"I feel it is not a matter of consistency," Ludeke told this website, adding: "We were simply not good enough this weekend and we accept responsibility for it [the size of the defeat].
"We have an important game against the Lions this coming weekend and we want to ensure we stay in the running.
"It is still in our own hands."
He felt that when the Sharks got ahead early on the Bulls were forced to play catch-up and never got back into the game.
"For me, the first 20 to 30 minutes we were under great pressure from the Sharks and we could not release it," Ludeke told this website.
"When they piled on the pressure they turned it into points, converted their opportunities.
"From the outset they were ahead in key aspects ... the quality of the possession at the breakdowns and the line-outs, they also put a lot of pressure on our line-outs and in the scrums. Those are the aspects that cost us at the end of the day."
The Bulls mentor felt his charges produced a much better second-half effort, but they failed to finish off the opportunities they created.
"In the last 20 minutes we had a chance, through one score, to get back to within eight points and then we would have been back in the game ... but we effectively played catch-up throughout the game.
"They were just better than us on the day."
He reiterated that consistency is not an issue.
"At the weekend we were simply not good enough."
The key aspects were that the got the momentum at the advantage line and got the better quality possession.
"In the first 30 minutes they dominated the game," he said, adding: "We put in a big effort on defence, but they were persistent.
"We got possession in their half for the first time in the 13th minute only. It was one opportunity and after that they were back in our half.
"Tactically we didn't kick very well and gave them plenty of counter attacking abilities and simply couldn't get out of our half.
"As a team we will learn a lot from this defeat - we were away from home, against a team that was desperate.
"We will gain a lot from this experience and will be better for it.
"We will certainly have to take a step up in terms of our intensity ... especially next week [against the Lions] and the rest of the competition."
By Jan de Koning