Cape Town - Lions coach Swys de Bruin says his side has been forced into a rethink when they return to South Africa after a difficult Australasian tour.
De Bruin watched on as his side fell to their third defeat in a row on Saturday as they fell 39-27 to the Highlanders in Dunedin.
It brings the curtain down on a tour that had initially promised so much for the 2016 and 2017 tournament runners-ups.
Having beaten the Waratahs 29-0 in Sydney, the Lions then went on to lose to the Reds in Brisbane (27-22), the Hurricanes in Wellington (28-19) and now the Highlanders.
They remain top of the South African Conference, but they are being caught by the Jaguares and the three other South African teams.
The Lions have now won six and lost six this season - not the return that suggests that they are equipped to be title contenders once again this year.
"We scored four tries and we can't win the game ... it's just not good enough.
"We've just got to get home now and rethink the whole thing and take stock ... I'm very disappointed.
The Lions are in action next weekend when they host the Brumbies at Ellis Park.