Cape Town - Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus says he takes full responsibility for the loss to Wales in Washington DC, but insisted there were enough positives to take from the game.
After an error ridden first half which saw the Boks trail 14-3 at the break, the team rebounded in the second period to lead by three points heading into the final minutes.
However, a later try off a charge down enabled Wales to sneak a 22-20 victory - their third in a row over South Africa.
“I take it on the chin. I made a few mistakes during that game. I thought at half-time we were spot on with what we tried to rectify in the second half, because even with the late travelling, I thought we had a stronger second half, in terms of playing tactically a little bit better. I thought the subs really had a good impact when they came on,” Erasmus said at a press conference in Johannesburg on Monday.
Erasmus picked 13 uncapped players for the Wales Test and while some of the newbies struggled, the coach said there were a few who stood out.
“You could see they (the 13 debutants) were nervous, you could see some of them struggled, but some of them came through the nervousness and started playing better as the game went on. And that’s positive," Erasmus said.
The Bok mentor said he was particularly impressed by the efforts of Sharks duo Andre Esterhuizen (centre) and Makazole Mapimpi (wing).
"Some of the guys really stood out and played well at Test match level... a guy like Andre Esterhuizen. I really thought Makazole (played well)... for a guy who couldn’t catch a cold six months ago... under the high ball... he caught every single high ball. He contested well in the air and he scored a try on debut so there were really some good positives but at the end of the day it gets overshadowed by the loss.”
This week the Boks are in Johannesburg preparing for the first of three Tests against England starting at Ellis Park on Saturday.
Kick-off is at 17:05.