Stormers coach Robbie Fleck and captain Schalk Burger both lamented not playing New Zealand teams throughout the competition after their 60-21 loss to the Chiefs in Cape Town.
The Stormers were completely outclassed by the tempo at which the Chiefs played at.
When asked if he thought the loss came down to not playing against a New Zealand team the whole season until the quarter-finals, Fleck, agreed emphatically.
"Ja I think it's a big factor you know, I said during the week. Not facing New Zealand opposition this year does have an affect and we spoke about the intensity and the tempo at which these guys play at," Fleck said.
"In that first forty minutes we did well to score that try but when they got in behind us the writing was on the wall, just the tempo, the intensity, the physicality everything. They were smart at set piece times.
"You would like to test yourself against these guys the entire season, we didn't get a taste of it and now we have.
"Now we know what it's like and we have to up our game for next year."
Burger expressed the same sentiments as his coach, as he feels getting exposed to that pace will improve South African sides. As the Lions had an early baptism of fire when they played the Chiefs in the second round and Highlanders in the third, which exposed their weaknesses early for them to fix.
"They've got a certain style at the moment, all the Kiwi sides and it's not only them but the All Blacks as well and it's quite difficult to counter," Burger said after the game.
"I think next year, you know it'll be positive for us that we'll be playing against them … The Lions started this year by touring over there and they had one bad loss against the Highlanders I think and then they actually beat the Chiefs. Once you start experiencing and adapting to the style and getting used to it, you can catch up. Unfortunately this year we didn't have any New Zealand sides in our pool.'
– Nicholas McGregor at Newlands Stadium