Springbok coach Peter de Villiers blamed 'youthful exuberance' for some of the failings of his team on their just-completed two-match Australasian tour.
Having left behind 23 'injured' senior players, while three more fell by the wayside Down Under, the youthful Bok team slumped to embarrassing 20-39 (against Australia) and 7-40 (against New Zealand) defeats.
However, De Villiers felt there was a marked progress in the quality of the team's performance in the second match, against the All Blacks, despite the rather inflated losing margin.
"If we played against Australia the way we played against New Zealand ... we were 70 percent better," the Boks coach said, after arriving back in South Africa.
"In the end when we had to finish the opportunities and hold onto the ball, we just conceded possession too easily.
"That is part of the inexperience that I refer to," he said, adding: "The guys see the gaps, they want to do things on their own ... they want to be instant heroes.
"You do get those kind of things when players are still very young.
"The scoreline in the second game wasn't a true reflection of the game."
The Bok mentor said these defeats are all part of a steep learning curve that young players have to go through.
"You have to go through those things ... to inspire you and make it work for you in the future.
"These guys now know there is a 30 or 40 percent lift in intensity, from Super Rugby to Test matches, they have now experienced that for themselves.
"And the speed of the game is just so high that some of the guys said to themselves: 'Can't we slow it down a bit.'
"But you can't slow the game down, you have to speed it up."
The Bok coach felt the national team's conditioning will have to go to a "new dimension" in the future.
"We'll just have to work better with the franchises."
Asked if he felt that the Wallabies and All Blacks were thinking faster on their feet, effectively playing a smarter game, the Bok coach said he is confident the Boks do have the personnel to match the world's two top-ranked teams.
"The athletes that we left back home - Schalk Burger, for instance, is a naturally strong and naturally fast, he makes quick decisions because he is a natural rugby player.
"Juan Smith, Victor Matfield, Fourie du Preez ... they are big guys.
"The effort that these guys put in to get to that level make a big difference," De Villiers added.
Asked if some of the youngsters that went on tour Down Under will miss out on World Cup spots, De Villiers said he was looking at the situation in a different light.
"What I can say is that a large core of experience players will retire after the World Cup and if you keep that in mind the next coach will have something to build on.
"For that very reason this tour was very important.
"When the World Cup is over rugby doesn't stop for South Africa - people still want to win and be part of a winning culture, so from that point this [tour] was a fruitful exercise."
He admitted that, going forward, in the four-year cycle between World Cups, South Africa should blood more young players.
"Whenever you need a player [to step in] a team should not be as new [inexperienced] as this one was," the coach said, adding: "When they had to stand up for themselves, they did it, but when they had to stand up as a group they struggled to get it going."
He also dismissed the team's defensive failings, suggesting it can be put down to a lack of cohesion.
"They [the players] came together for two weeks and went over there [to Australasia] and suddenly when the chips were down they went back to their own structures ... those they knew from their franchises.
"The guys who were not on tour, they have been there [in the system] for eight, nine years in international rugby.
"It will take them a week or two just t adjust to each other again.
"This experience will be valuable for South African rugby after the World Cup."
By Jan de Koning
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