Springbok captain Jean de Villiers pointed to some errant defensive errors and ‘mistakes that show we are not quite up there with the best team in the world’ in reflecting on his side’s 29-15 loss to New Zealand’s All Blacks in Auckland on Saturday.
The home side scored four tries to South Africa's two - Pat Lambie got his first try for the Springboks - and now leads the points table of the Castle Lager Rugby Championship.
De Villiers did not comment on a controversial red card handed out to Bok hooker Bismarck du Plessis, but admitted that it was difficult to play with 14 players on the field for almost 50 minutes of the match.
“It was as hard as always when you play the All Blacks, but I guess the fact that we played with 14 men for 50 minutes did not make it any easier for us,” De Villiers said.
“We have seen tonight how far we are behind the All Blacks and credit must be given to them for the way they played. They are a fantastic team.”
De Villiers was not looking for any excuses like the travel factor.
“It is as it is and part of the competition and we have to adapt to that," said the Bok skipper. "But it was not fatigue that got us out there tonight. From a performance side of things, we did not make our tackles tonight and that is something we proud ourselves on. We took a couple of steps back tonight.”
The Springbok captain had a message to their fans.
"We made a couple of mistakes out there tonight and will work very hard to get it right. There is still two matches left in the competition and we still have a lot to play for, so we will have to work very hard to rectify those errors we made here tonight.”
The Springboks return to South Africa on Sunday afternoon and will assemble in Cape Town next Monday.
Their next fixture in the Castle Lager Rugby Championship is on 28 September when they play Australia at DHL Newlands.