Dublin - South Africa must learn from their 29-15 defeat to Ireland and show character when they play England in the second of their November Tests next weekend, said Springboks coach Heyneke Meyer.
Meyer, who was tasting defeat for the first time to a northern hemisphere side and which was South Africa's first against a northern team since losing to Scotland four years ago, conceded Ireland had deserved Saturday's victory at Lansdowne Road.
It came only weeks after the Springboks had brought to an end world champions New Zealand's 22-match winning run.
"Every single defeat hurts," said the 47-year-old Meyer.
"However, I'd rather lose one now and see where we're at for the World Cup next year than it to happen then because now I can see where we can adapt and improve.
"We have to take this on the chin and show some character against England, who are a quality side too.
We have to look ourselves in the mirror and reflect on what happened out there.
"However, let us not kid ourselves -- we played a world class side who nearly beat the All Blacks last year."
Meyer, who was experiencing just his eighth defeat in 34 tests, said that the yellow card for replacement hooker Adriaan Strauss 14 minutes from the end had halted any momentum they had managed to build having trailed the Irish throughout the game.
"The referee is always right, we're not allowed to say otherwise," said Meyer.
"However, there are no excuses. We could use that as one if we wished to but Ireland were the better side. They outplayed us and outkicked us."
Meyer, who has experience of English rugby having coached the Leicester Tigers from 2008 to 2009, equated playing the Irish to that of an arm wrestler.
"We have to adapt to different styles of game. You can't play Championship (southern hemisphere championship) rugby in the ones we had today and we haven't really played well in the wet ball conditions like that all year," said Meyer.
"Although we've evolved in every game we've played against Ireland it is an arm wrestling exercise where you have to wait your moment to open them up."
Springbok captain Jean de Villiers, who along with centre partner Jan Serfontein failed to dominate the rookie duo opposite them in debutant Jared Payne and 21-year-old Robbie Henshaw, said that the players should bear the brunt of the blame.
"We were fine at tactical kicking and in the scrum but we just couldn't hang onto the ball, which you do at grade one rugby," said the 33-year-old, who was winning his 103rd cap.
"It is not we played badly but we couldn't hold on to the passes and that is not down to coaching. We as players have to take the responsibility because how we played was not good enough for the Springbok jersey.
"However, you have got to give Ireland credit. They were well prepared and played really well. We'll take this on the chin and be hard on ourselves for a couple of days and then get on with the task ahead."
Meyer, though, said that England would see a different Springbok performance next Saturday.
"We're a proud nation and we have to go forward," he said.