In losing 32-15 to the Sharks in Durban yesterday, the Hurricanes have undone all the good work of their massive victory over the Lions in Johannesburg last weekend.
It was a big drop-off in performance after the heights of their 50-17 win against a good team at Ellis Park and a return to the inconsistencies of the past.
"We are massively disappointed. We wanted to win and we wanted to play well and we didn't do either," coach Chris Boyd said.
The Kings Park defeat could have been worse but for the fact fullback James Marshall scored a converted try in the final minutes to add a veneer of respectability to the scoreline and deny the home side a bonus point.
They now return to play the struggling Reds in Wellington but beyond that have a tough run-in, including matches against the Highlanders, Blues and Crusaders. A few more slip-ups and their dream of going one better than last year when they were beaten finalists will be in jeopardy.
They were second best in the contact areas and, worryingly, at the scrum after dominating that area against the Lions and before that the Chiefs. They also lost four lineouts.
"When we got into that contact area, they certainly dominated that and we struggled to get go-forward ball," said Boyd. "We knew what we were going to get. What we got was exactly what we thought we'd get and we didn't cope with it well enough.
"We've had some good patches and we've had some average performances and in this particular [playing] group, we need to get a level of consistency that we have been searching for," he said.
The loss will bring back memories of the Hurricanes' opening night defeat to the Brumbies in Canberra, a 52-10 thumping which appeared to be an anomaly until this latest result.
The one highlight might have been the performance of flanker Ardie Savea, who led the way with a game-high 16 tackles and two turnovers.