Cape Town - There was a sharp decline in the quality of Western Province's play as they suffered a 22-9 home defeat at the hands of the Currie Cup pace-setters, the Golden Lions, at Newlands on Saturday.
WP head coach Allister Coetzee said he was disappointed that his side did not even manage to salvage a bonus point.
"The amount of unforced errors were of a our own making because some of them were committed at times when we were not under pressure," said Coetzee.
"Our decision-making all afternoon was poor and probably the worst was the overlap situations which potentially were scoring opportunities.
Coetzee also felt when the Lions did exert pressure, the youngsters in the team did not respond well.
"We have quite a few youngsters, many of them straight from the under-21 ranks and with very few Currie Cup matches under their belts, but they need to learn how to handle pressure," Coetzee added.
"When the pressure came they did not make the right decisions. But overall, the Lions had us under pressure when we made errors."
The victory allowed the Lions to move clear at the top of the log with a three-point lead ahead of the Sharks, while Province slipped into third place.
"There are two rounds of matches remaining in the league and we've made it very hard for ourselves to reach the playoffs," said Coetzee.
"We'll have to work harder than before to make sure we can reach the playoffs. We saw how the Lions took their opportunities and they were disciplined on the field."
Lions boss Johan Ackermann, meanwhile, said he was not sure whether the win was enough to ensure his team will secure a home semi-final in the play-off round.
"This win certainly is a big step towards securing a home semi, and we would have been in big trouble if we didn't win," said Ackermann.
"We've had to accept that we would be without key players because of Bok call-ups in the past few days, but the camaraderie in the squad is so great that players are playing for each other.
"We achieved our win on the back of a good defensive effort and the players who stood in for the Bok call-ups brought a new dimension to the side."
Ackermann said his front row resources were wearing thin and he was going to ask the Bok coach to release either Pat Cilliers or CJ Van der Linde so that he could at least have one of those props available for the next match.
"I'm not sure if any of those two are going to get game time or even make the match-day squad," said Ackermann.
"There is only one Test now (against the All Blacks) and if either of them are not going to be used, it would better if they had some game time."