Despite having suffered the heartbreak of World Cup defeat just a week earlier, the majority of the Springboks were at their best in the Currie Cup.
Sir Winston Churchill said success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.
The defeated and dejected troops of Wales and Australia will need the most inspirational of speeches to summon much enthusiasm for staying away from home for a few more days to contest the bronze medal on Friday.
But how a side react to a loss is often a mark of character and an indicator of how they may react in the heat of future battles.
Witness South Africa. Despite dominating their quarterfinal match against the Wallabies, the Springboks lost 11-9, dashing their dream of retaining their Rugby World Cup title.
Yet their response to this crushingly disappointing loss was admirable.
In the dressing room at Wellington, retiring skipper John Smit urged his teammates to store away the pain they were feeling so they could use it as a motivator in future showdowns.
There was no time to relax for his men as ten hours after that dressing room pep talk they were on a 06:00 flight to Johannesburg - via Bangkok and Dubai. Many of them would then have needed a two-hour connecting flight to their homes elsewhere in South Africa.
As their RWC 2011 campaign had followed punishing schedules in Super Rugby and the Tri Nations, one might have presumed they would take the opportunity to put their feet up and watch the semifinals with their families on a rare weekend away from the frontline.
Not a thought of it.
On Saturday in Durban, six returning Springboks, Pat Lambie, JP Pietersen, Bismarck and Jannie du Plessis, Odwa Ndungane and Willem Alberts, played in the Sharks' 53-9 win over the Golden Lions in the Currie Cup.
In Cape Town, returning Springboks Jean de Villiers, Bryan Habana, Juan de Jongh and Gio Aplon all started in Western Province's 43-18 Currie Cup win over the Pumas. Schalk Burger and Jaque Fourie came off the bench.
The large contingent of Boks contracted to the Bulls, including Victor Matfield, Morné Steyn and Pierre Spies, were not required to take part in their team's 92-21 victory over the Leopards on Friday.
Ex-skipper Smit and flank Francois Louw were busy packing their bags for careers in Europe, while Heinrich Brüssow was sidelined by injury. Ruan Pienaar and Johann Muller were reported to be returning to training on Monday with Ulster, who did not play at the weekend.
Perhaps the wounded Wallabies and Welsh whiz-kids would do well to follow the Springboks' example and consider whether the pain of World Cup defeat will linger less for those who immediately return to the trenches.
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