Bloemfontein - Saturday's 27-27 draw against the Wallabies in Bloemfontein was undoubtedly a poor result for the Springboks, but coach Allister Coetzee was trying his best to remain positive as the All Blacks loom.
Given South Africa's record against Australia at altitude - they have lost just one Test match in 54 years in Pretoria, Johannesburg and Bloemfontein - Saturday represented the perfect opportunity for the Boks to return to winning ways after that horrific 57-0 loss to the All Blacks in Albany.
Instead, handling errors at crucial times as well as scrum problems and lateral running contributed to a performance that was rich in intent, but lacking in execution.
In the end, the Boks had to rely on a long-range penalty from flyhalf Elton Jantjies 10 minutes from time to draw level.
It means that the Boks are without a win in three, but Coetzee reckons he was pleased with what he saw from his charges on Saturday.
"It’s always difficult when you draw at home, it feels like a loss," he said after the match.
"But I’m very proud of this team and their effort tonight and the way we played after a tough two weeks. It shows the character in the side and that was tested.
"The way we got stuck in … there is no problem with our effort once again and no problem with the mindset and the way we want to play."
Coetzee added that the performance on Saturday went a long way towards getting the Boks over the scars of their Albany humiliation, and he suggested that his side was still very much on the right path.
"We know that we created a lot of opportunities and that to me is a massive positive," he said.
"This team, in the process that we’re busy with, can feel that they were the better team at one stage than the Australians out there.
"“I know we have to win and we must win, but we are taking the right steps in the right direction."
There were, however, a couple of areas where Coetzee felt the Boks needed to be better.
"We always pride ourselves on our set piece and the discipline in the team … those were strengths of ours at the beginning of the season in the French series. It’s maybe not where it should be at the moment," he said.
"I’ll have to go and have a look at the breakdown because we got pinged there a couple of times and I saw the same picture on the other side."
The draw, the second between the sides in this year's Rugby Championship, means the Boks hold onto second sport on the tournament log, three points ahead of Australia, with one round of fixtures to go.