Pretoria - Argentina are earning a better reputation with every outing even if they have not won a game in the Rugby Championship having started their third year, flyhalf Nicolas Sanchez said after Saturday's 13-6 loss to South Africa.
As it happened: South Africa v Argentina
"We have a feeling we are gaining more and more respect with each passing game because today we put South Africa under a lot of pressure and could have tied the game in the last minute," said the Pumas pivot, who was one of the outstanding performers in a bruising game badly affected by lashing rain.
"We are really disappointed because I think we were really close to a result and let it escape," added Sanchez after they squandered three late chances to snatch a try and possibly hold their hosts to a draw.
Sanchez paid tribute to his team's forwards who largely dominated South Africa in the scrums, rucks and mauls.
"The forwards had a great game with both the lineouts and the scrums working well.
"But we are going to have to double that effort because we know South Africa will redouble their effort in Salta," he added referring to next Saturday's return game in the northern Argentine city.
"We are pleased with the performance but there are things to correct," new Argentina coach Daniel Hourcade told reporters after the test at Loftus Versfeld.
Argentina, who were third at the Rugby World Cup in 2007, have lost 12 of their 13 Rugby Championship clashes since joining the expanded annual southern hemisphere competition in 2012.
They drew at home with South Africa in Mendoza two years ago.