The Stormers, regarded as the favoured South African side in this year's competition scratched their way to a 21-19 win and coach John Dobson wasn't impressed.
"Our maul defence was poor against the Sharks, but I sent a message out for the guys to apply something we had been working on in training during the off-season," he said.
"Siya [Kolisi], who was not there for the entire off-season obviously, responded by asking: 'What is that?'
"So we need some clarity.
"The forwards were disappointing in the first half which I think is a conditioning issue," he said.
The Test players, Kolisi and Steven Kitshoff, were rusty, Dobson said and he didn't think the pack worked hard enough.
But the cavalry in the shape of flanker Pieter-Steph du Toit, Wales centre Jamie Roberts and lock Cobus Wiese is on the way and they will be with the side before the Hurricanes game.
"Jamie will arrive on Wednesday. That was the whole issue, we wanted him here in time to be available for the Hurricanes game, which meant he had to be here this week," he said.
In the end it was a superior defensive effort that gave the Stormers the win as Springboks halfback Herschel Jantjies, pictured, scored two tries.
Jantjies hadn't started well, a loose pass at a five-metre scrum going over the deadball line.
Dobson said he had talked to Jantjies before the game.
"I told him about second-year syndrome. For a moment, I thought that was coming true. He is becoming like a talisman in that side and our job, for the good of the franchise and South African rugby, is to make sure that him and Damian [Willemse] form a real understanding. I think that is the future, potentially," he said.
Sharks coach Sean Everitt was a little happier in spite of the loss.
"One of the big positives about our performance was the set-piece at scrum time.
"We were definitely the dominant pack in the first half. I wouldn't say that is surprising because we have worked really hard," he said.
"We were happy with what the game produced. It was just a warm-up game so we shouldn't be too concerned about the result."