I think the message is there
Pumas coach Jimmy Stonehouse felt his team were beaten by themselves, rather than the Sharks in Friday's 17-34 Currie Cup loss at Kings Park in Durban.
The defending champions, who trailed 6-7 at the break and were behind their visitors for most of the game, needed a strong showing in the final quarter (when they scored 21 unanswered points) to secure the win and maintain their 100 percent start to the competition.
"I think we gave the game away, it's not that they beat us," said Stonehouse, South Africa's Coach of the Year last year.
"We made a lot of mistakes, especially at the line-out, so I think we were our own enemy, not the Sharks.
"There were lot of harsh penalties against us, but if you make your own mistakes then you only have yourself to blame."
The Sharks secured four tries in the second 40 minutes - three of them after line-outs - thanks to SP Marais, Jacques Botes, Tera Mtembu and Monde Hadebe, to claim the additional bonus-point score.
The men from Mpumalanga, meanwhile, who made a triumphant start to the competition when they upset the Free State Cheetahs 28-21 last week, threatened an upset once more after tries of their own through Frikkie Spies and Renaldo Bothma.
Stonehouse felt the two encouraging performances by his side bode well for his charges.
"I think the people out there must decide whether we send a message or not," he added.
"I think it's clear and obvious that the Pumas are here to play a great brand of rugby and must be in the Currie Cup Premier Division.
"I think the word is out there. The score isn't that good today, but obviously everybody that knows rugby will say it could have been the other way.
"I think the message is there... come to Mbombela, be on your A game, and the day when you don't turn up at your own stadium, you will have problems."