Dublin - South African rugby came back down to earth with a thud at the weekend after a disappointing defeat in Ireland contrasted with the heady delight of beating top-ranked New Zealand just one month ago.
A 29-15 loss in Dublin on Saturday was the first Springbok loss to a team from the northern hemisphere since a 2010 defeat by Scotland and will leave the South Africans reassessing their World Cup chances less than a year away from the tournament.
"Our standards are higher than what we showed against Ireland and we simply made too many errors," admitted captain Jean de Villiers after the match, just over a month after the Boks edged the All Blacks in Johannesburg.
"Yes, our first phase play was very good and I thought we dominated the scrums and the lineouts, but we didn't retain the ball and you can't play rugby without the ball."
"The Irish deserve a lot of credit -- they played the conditions better and were tactically superior," added coach Heyneke Meyer.
"We knew it was going to be a tough tussle and we were not good enough on the day."
The result now puts added pressure on the team for next Saturday's fixture against England, which was always going to be their toughest assignment on a four-match European tour and a benchmark of their World Cup credentials.
This was further emphasised by the narrow margin of victory New Zealand achieved over England (24-21) at Twickenham on Saturday.
"We can't afford to dwell too much on what is now in the past," Meyer added.
"We have a massive game against England and we simply have to show a massive improvement because they will be just as tough to beat at home."
South Africa also play Italy and Wales this month.