Springbok captain John Smit said that his inexperienced team will have to learn from the 39-20 drubbing they were given by Australia, but it will have to be some quick swotting with the All Blacks looming large.
The Springboks failed their first examination of the season when they capitulated meekly in the opening Tri-Nations game, and it would appear that they need to do some serious cramming if they are to compete with the world's best team in their next assignment.
Smit tried his best to take some positives from the way his team was dismantled in Sydney on Saturday, and argued that rather than affecting their confidence levels the experience would have helped prepare his youthful charges for what awaits them in Wellington this weekend.
He commented: "It's more of an experience for those guys who haven't been out on this arena and just to feel the difference in speed and physicality.
"Every game you lose is a confidence blow, I suppose, but a lot of these guys wouldn't have experienced Test rugby yet, some of them haven't got more than 10 Test caps - if anything it will be invaluable to those guys who haven't been around," said the Bok skipper.
The All Blacks, who swamped Fiji 60-14 in Dunedin on Friday, will be strongly fancied to win their fourth straight Test against the Springboks next Saturday, but that doesn't diminish South Africa's chances of defending their World Cup crown, Smit said.
"I don't think anyone is going to be able to take the favourites' tag from New Zealand, no matter what happens in the Tri-Nations,"
"We have to make sure we are the best prepared as possible. We have three more games to go in the Tri-Nations and lots to do and lots to prepare for," he explained.
Smit said South Africa paid for lapses in concentration and turning over the ball to the Wallabies, but added that he was encouraged by the attitude his side showed when under considerable pressure.
He said: "What I enjoyed about our younger side was that they chased to the death. There were tries going begging out there for the Wallabies and there was a lot of guts chasing to make sure it didn't happen, and they are the things we can draw upon.
"We'll have to learn from this, let those guys take the experience in and then be pretty harsh on Monday in terms of what we trained for three weeks but didn't quite execute well enough today," added Smit.
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