Cape Town - New Zealand coach Steve Hansen said South Africa could be very proud of their performance after the All Blacks scraped a 25-24 Rugby Championship victory in Cape Town on Saturday.
CLICK: To support South Africa's Rugby World Cup 2023 bid
READ: De Allende, Sopoaga still 'mates' after ugly hit
READ: Etzebeth praises Springboks coaching staff
While the All Blacks made it six wins in a row against the Springboks, the home team emphatically shook off the horrors of their 57-0 loss to the All Blacks in their last meeting, three weeks ago in Auckland.
"South Africa can be very proud of that performance and it showed what a good rugby side they are.
"Our side showed tremendous courage and character and had to make a lot of tackles.
"I tried to tell anyone who would listen that Auckland was a ridiculous score that did not reflect how tough the game was.
"Obviously I'm pleased any time we win -- it's easier on the ticker when you win 57-0 -- but it gives you greater pleasure when it's a real contest, and both sides played well tonight," Hansen told a media conference.
As the All Blacks prepare for the next World Cup in 2019, at which they will be aiming for an unprecedented hat-trick of titles, Hansen said he was pleased some of his younger players had been exposed to a high-quality, high-pressure international.
"To see youngsters like David Havili and Damian McKenzie combine for the try that put us in front, that's not a bad sign.
"Some of our younger players have not been in that situation before -- that when it is tough you have to find a way.
"It's been a great year for us and 2016 was a bit of a breeze, we played some extraordinary rugby.
"Guys are coming in and trying to establish themselves.
"It was quite apparent that they were very talented, but they were never really under pressure.
"But this year they have been under quite a lot of pressure and there have been some 80-minute performances, but others where we have dropped off after 60 minutes.
"It's a learning (curve) for a young team and tonight we only had five guys with more than 50 caps, which is unusual for us.
"So we have been able to grow the talent underneath, which is great for the World Cup," Hansen said.