Disappointed head coach Deon Davids says the Southern Kings must learn lessons and improve after they were mauled 54-10 by the Lions in Johannesburg.
The rampant Lions delighted a home crowd of 17 000 at Ellis Park with eight scintillating tries as they chalked up their 12th Super Rugby win from 13 games.
After Sunday’s hammering, the Kings will be looking forward to the month-long break for the international window.
They will complete their Super Rugby season with games against Jaguares, Bulls and Cheetahs.
“From my side, I just want to congratulate the Lions,” Davids said.
“I think they were just the better team with their performance, and we would like to wish them well for the rest of the competition.
“It was just a bad day at the office and it was not our best performance.
“Things just did not work out for us from the start and it was just a chain reaction to different areas.
“I also think there were times when we had good ball in hand, but we did not get continuity and make good decisions.
“The Lions were very physical in terms of their ball carries and in the tackle area and they also contested the rucks very well. At the end of the day, this influenced our continuity.
“It was just a performance that we really have to look back at and learn from and be better next time,” Davids said.
When asked if he was disappointed when his team failed to capitalise after Lions hooker Robbie Coetzee was red-carded in the 31st minute, Davids said: “Definitely. I thought with them being a man down, we could have created more and better opportunities and made better decisions.
“Looking back at all the games we played, I got a sense from the start and did not think we looked as sharp and light-footed as we have been.”
The Kings’ hopes were dealt a severe blow two days before kickoff when injuries sidelined captain Lionel Cronje and fiery loose forward Andisa Ntsila.
“You don’t lose a player of Lionel’s calibre and experience and just replace him with someone,” Davids said.
“So Lionel has a significant influence on the team.
“But it is a part of the game. When you lose a player, you have to adapt. We tried to prepare the next guy coming in to fulfil that role.
“But I don’t want to use that as an excuse to take away anything from the good rugby the Lions played,” Davids said.
Kings prop Ross Geldenhuys, who took over the captaincy after Cronje had to withdraw, also praised the Lions.
“I think the Lions are a well-oiled machine. They have a good scrum and a good maul, which we saw,” he said.
“They also scored some 80m tries.
“I thought our defence was good from 60m out. In the last 20m, we struggled and they got a few good tries.
“It was a bit of a disappointing performance,” Geldenhuys said.
The Kings had been looking to become the first team to beat the Lions at Ellis Park since late April last year.
This latest result means the Kings have lost their past two matches after a winning streak that included victories over the Waratahs, Melbourne Rebels and Sharks.