We put ourselves under pressure
The defending champion Golden Lions bemoaned their unfortunate slump, which saw them lose 21-37 to Griquas and concede first place on the standings.
Griquas, the last team to beat the Lions before this past weekend's triumph, showed more desire than the men from Johannesburg could muster in the searing heat in Kimberley.
Lions coach Johan Ackermann, who saw his side secure a home semifinal before the match, bemoaned the sift moments in the match that cost them.
"We gave away easy tries and it was always going to be difficult to come back from that," said Lions interim coach Johan Ackermann.
"We also put in a poor performance at the line-outs, one aspect of our game that is normally on par.
"We played against ourselves by making unforced errors and kicking away possession.
"Simply put, we were beaten by a better side."
With one more match ahead of the play-offs, against perennial rivals the Blue Bulls at Ellis Park, Ackermann said his side would need to be on form in an effort to ensure themselves a home final if they got that far in their title defence.
"We know the Bulls are at the bottom of the log and that they are under immense pressure. That makes them a dangerous side," Ackermann said.
"We, in turn, put ourselves under pressure by losing to Griquas.
"We've got a whole week to remedy what went wrong and we need to do it before the Bulls clash."