Free State Cheetahs head coach Rory Duncan said the Lions' desire to keep their Currie Cup hopes alive on Saturday was there for all to see at Ellis Park.
The Lions recorded a 44-17 victory in the final round fixture, which knocked out Duncan's side and secured the Lions a semifinal showdown against Western Province in Cape Town next weekend.
"The Lions came out today extremely hungry for the win and they obviously got the result," Duncan told reporters after the match.
"I think we need to give a lot of credit to those [Lions] guys because they certainly put their bodies on the line and the desire was definitely there."
Duncan does not believe the final score was a true reflection of the game.
"I would like to think not. Giving away one or two soft tries in the game I believe we let the score run away from us, but again I am not taking anything away from the Lions performance.
"I think they had a fantastic game. They were certainly deserved winners of the game tonight [Saturday]," he added.
Although he didn't want to use it as an excuse, The Cheetahs have had a tough schedule since the end of Super Rugby, which could have played a role in their demise on Saturday.
"The guys have basically gone from playing the last Super Rugby game into six games of Currie Cup and straight from there into six games in the Pro14 and now back into Currie Cup, so that is 13 games on the trot.
"Changing competitions and that doesn't make life easy, but at the same time I believe our standards are higher than what we set tonight," said Duncan.