We again stopped playing
Sharks Director of Rugby Jake White was full of praise for his team, but also admitted they again eased off the gas in the second half against the Reds in Durban at the weekend.
The Sharks endured a spell of intense pressure from the Reds' in the second half, but eventually prevailed 35-20.
While White said he was delighted, considering the circumstances his charges endured during the build-up, he admitted they allowed the Reds back into the game.
He said his side had again "stopped playing", which led to the Reds' revival.
"We started getting ahead of ourselves," the World Cup-winning former Springbok coach said of his team's second-half slump.
"We had played solid rugby in the first half.
"However, when you give them loose balls like that, you make life difficult," White added.
White praised his side for overcoming several personnel changes in the build-up to the encounter withy the Reds.
"This was not a normal week," he said, adding: "With the emotional backlog in that group, to come back and beat the Reds, who have a squad full of Wallabies, and have won this competition, I am very happy."
The Sharks had lost promising youngsters Paul Jordaan and Pieter-Steph du Toit ahead of the match, and White admitted that those were big setbacks for the squad.
"I feel for them. Pieter-Steph du Toit is now one of the best players in the world," White said.
"But every team has to face up to these challenges, and John Smit has always told me that this group of players can adapt to change."
White believes the Sharks will have a massive challenge at Loftus Versfeld, when they face the Bulls this coming Saturday.
"It's massive. But it can be done. This group of players has a good record there, and we have some momentum now."