Heyneke Meyer (Gallo Images)
Johannesburg - Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer believes the inexperience of his young backline was the difference between them and the All Blacks.
New Zealand beat their hosts 32-16 at the FNB Stadium on Saturday to secure their 16th successive Test victory in their last match of the inaugural four-nation Rugby Championship.
The Boks led 16-12 at half-time but the New Zealanders scored two second-half tries to dismantle their perennial rivals.
"At half-time I thought we were still in the game and that we played the right kind of game," Meyer said.
"But the turning point was just after half-time when we conceded a turnover against the best counter-attacking team in the world, which they scored from, and suddenly we were 19-16 behind."
The All Blacks, who have not lost a Test since they lifted the world title last year, are well on track to break Lithuania's international record of 18 wins in a row.
With five matches left in the season, New Zealand could end the year with 21 consecutive victories in the bag.
The tourists showed up the Boks' defence, especially on the counter attack, and Meyer believed their short-comings were due to inexperience against possibly the most dangerous attacking backline in world rugby.
"If you look at the mistakes, it was backs on backs and they will learn from that," Meyer said.
"So we had a few inexperienced players against the best backline in the world and they will punish you if you make mistakes.
"It was not a case of the players not putting their bodies on the line because when we defended in a line we looked good, so it was soft moments."
While Meyer was disappointed with his side's third loss of the Rugby Championship campaign, he felt the team would be in a better place after the end-of-year tour to Britain where they will face Ireland, Scotland and England.
"We will be a different side after another three Tests and a Super Rugby season," he said.
"To be realistic we improved a helluva lot if you look at all the injuries and the players not available.
"It's been a tough few months, but again we started as the fourth side in the world and moved up two places.
"We will work harder and I will do my best to make this a championship side."