Despite fielding a weakened side against the Bulls, the Golden Lions were struck by injuries to Lionel Mapoe and Deon van Rensburg.
The defending champions will host Western Province in Johannesburg on Saturdayin a replay of their semifinal last year but will definitely have to do without wing Van Rensburg whilst they face an anxious wait to discover whether Mapoe will be available.
Mapoe left the field after hurting his knee and has been for scans which will confirm the severity of the injury but Van Rensburg will not be available at all for the playoffs as his leg injury is more serious.
With second place on the standings assured before kick-off in Johannesburg the home side gave a good account of themselves in the first half, but could not keep up with a desperate Blue Bulls side who pulled away towards the end of the match to secure the final semifinal place.
Lions coach Johan Ackermann said that he thought the 50-29 scoreline flattered the Bulls, as his side threw away an opportunity to make a big statement before the knock-out stages.
"We made some really funny mistakes in the last half of the game and there the score went away and it is not a true reflection of the game," Ackermann said.
Ackermann was left frustrated at the injuries to Mapoe and Deon Van Rensburg which happened despite his cautious approach.
"It was good to give guys some game time, the only disappointing thing is that we picked up some injuries and that is the one thing we didn't want," he said.