Southern Kings director of rugby Alan Solomons has admitted that they were outclassed by an impressive Waratahs team but says they simply have to get back to their feet and keep on fighting.
The Kings were hammered 72-10 by the slick Waratahs side at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth on Saturday as, for once, their much-vaunted defensive system failed to cope with the classy play of the visitors.
The Eastern Cape side had lost seven of their 10 matches, but they had always shown great defiance and a fighting attitude which had drawn much praise from their opponents.
On Saturday, though, they had no answer to the Waratahs' onslaught and now faced a difficult finish to their debut Super Rugby season.
"We have to take this on the chin," Solomons said after the massacre.
"Failure is not getting knocked down. It is about not getting up. Now we need to get up next week no matter how tired we are after playing nine consecutive games. We need to perform against a very good Highlanders side."
The Kings host the Highlanders in Port Elizabeth on Saturday, aware that the New Zealand side would be buoyed by their 25-22 win over the Sharks.
The Dunedin franchise are likely to adopt much the same tactics used by the running Waratahs.
"We were absolutely outclassed today. There is no doubt about that," Solomons said.
"We were off our game and we are not a side with deep experience who played against a very good Waratahs side who hit their straps tonight."
Solomons said his players were disappointed with their efforts and fatigue could be setting in after nine games in a row. The Kings have a bye following the Highlanders clash.
"The players are dreadfully disappointed and these are lessons that are learned along the way.
"The biggest danger period in the competition is now in our nine and tenth consecutive games. But we are not a side who make excuses. We have to take this on the chin and give credit to the Waratahs, who played outstandingly."
Solomons said they would be determined to show their character against the Highlanders on Saturday.
"We have built this team on character and I have no doubt that come next week the players will show what they are made of against the Highlanders."