Cape Town - The Springboks were horrible at times and can have no complaints after they were beaten 26-24 by Argentina in Salta on Saturday night.
The Boks were nowhere near their best and did not provide any evidence that they will be able to challenge the All Blacks for the Rugby Championship crown this year.
The loss is the second of new coach Allister Coetzee's era to go with the defeat to Ireland in Cape Town back in June.
The match would have to wait until the 21st minute for its first points - a penalty from Springbok flyhalf Elton Jantjies.
It followed a yellow card for Argentina prop Ramiro Herrera, who went crashing into Francois Louw late and with his shoulder.
Jantjies had already missed a penalty from almost the exact same position - to the left and about 45m out - but he made no mistake second time around.
From the resulting restart the Pumas were awarded a penalty of their own, and Nicolas Sanchez knocked over a simple kick to level matters at 3-3.
That opened the game up somewhat, but it was the hosts who looked most dangerous as they bossed possession.
A second Sanchez penalty made it 6-3, but the big moment of the opening period came when fullback Joaquin Tuculet broke through to score the opening try of the match.
Sanchez converted, and all of a sudden the Boks were 13-3 down.
An infringement from Pumas captain Agustin Creevy on the stroke of half time allowed Jantjies the chance to close the gap, but the Bok playmaker pulled a relatively simple kick as his side went into the break 10 points down.
South Africa looked much better after half time, and Jantjies was given another opportunity to knock over a penalty from just 30m out.
He did so, and the Boks were 13-6 behind.
The visitors then got some momentum going, and they had their first try through an enterprising attacking move that showed the intensity and continuity that was absent throughout the first half.
The deciding pass was a delightful piece of skill from Louw, who found Bryan Habana down the left wing.
Johan Goosen converted the try to make it 13-13, but the Pumas hit back once more.
This time it was Juan Martin Hernandez doing the damage as his cross-kick found Juan Manuel Leguizamón, who towered above Habana to gather and score.
Hernandez converted and the Pumas were 20-13 up.
Morne Steyn, who replaced the struggling Jantjies, also struggled with the boot.
When Hernandez knocked over another penalty, the Boks were 10 points down once more with just 25 minutes left to overturn the 23-13 scoreline.
Steyn reduced the gap with a penalty 10 minutes later, and the Boks were back within 7.
Replacement lock Pieter-Steph du Toit then barged over from close range, but Steyn missed the conversion to leave the Boks trailing 23-21 going into the final 10 minutes.
They were given their lifeline when Argentina were pinged for offside and Steyn kicked the simplest of penalties to give the Boks a 24-23 lead, but substitute Santiago Gonzalez had the final say as the Pumas recorded the win with a late penalty of their own.
South Africa had two minutes to respond, but couldn't.
Tries: Joaquin Tuculet, Juan Manuel Leguizamón
Conversion: Nicolas Sanchez, Juan Martin Hernandez
Penalties: Sanzchez (2), Hernandez, Santiago Gonzalez
Tries: Bryan Habana, Pieter-Steph du Toit
Conversion: Johan Goosen
Penalties: Elton Jantjies (2), Morne Steyn (2)
15 Joaquín Tuculet, 14 Santiago Cordero, 13 Matías Orlando, 12 Juan Martín Hernández, 11 Manuel Montero, 10 Nicolás Sánchez, 9 Martín Landajo, 8 Facundo Isa, 7 Juan Manuel Leguizamón, 6 Pablo Matera, 5 Tomás Lavanini, 4 Matías Alemanno, 3 Ramiro Herrera, 2 Agustín Creevy (captain), 1 Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro
Substitutes: 16 Julian Montoya, 17 Felipe Arregui, 18 Enrique Pieretto, 19 Guido Petti, 20 Javier Ortega Desio, 21 Tomas Cubelli, 22 Santiago Gonzalez Iglesias, 23 Lucas González Amorosin
15 Johan Goosen, 14 Ruan Combrinck, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Warren Whiteley, 7 Oupa Mohoje, 6 Francois Louw, 5 Lood de Jager, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Vincent Koch, 2 Adriaan Strauss, 1 Tendai Mtawarira
Substitutes: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Lourens Adriaanse, 19 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 20 Jaco Kriel, 21 Rudy Paige, 22 Morne Steyn, 23, Jesse Kriel