Stormers coach Robbie Fleck and captain Schalk Burger joined a growing chorus of criticism of the cumbersome Super Rugby format after the undercooked South African team were dumped out of the competition at the weekend by New Zealand's Chiefs.
It was the first time the Stormers had met Kiwi opposition in this year's competition and assertions of any easy ride to the play-offs for the Cape Town side were given credence by a reality check to their ambitions as the Chiefs routed them 60-21 in the quarter-final at Newlands on Saturday.
"I said before the game that not having faced New Zealand opposition this year would play a part and it certainly was a big factor in our loss," Fleck said after his side's elimination.
"We warned about the intensity and the tempo that they play at and they showed us that in the first half. When they got ahead of us, the writing was on the wall.
"You need to test yourself against these guys throughout the season and we didn't get a taste of it. Now we have and now we know what it is like and we have to up our game for next year.
"At the end of the day, they were way too good for us."
The format of the Super Rugby competition was changed this year with the inclusion of new franchises from Argentina, Japan and South Africa.
Teams were put into geographical conferences with just a handful of cross-over matches, limiting trips for the South Africa sides to face tough Australia and New Zealand opposition.
"It would be nice to see the round robin system back again; you want top see all the teams taking on each other and as a player you want to have that experience of pitting yourself up against all the best players and teams plus the travel experience," said Springbok flanker Burger.
"The conference system is far too complicated, there aren't many who even understand it."