Springbok captain John Smit admitted that his side was 'exposed' by a vastly superior All Black outfit that demolished the South Africans in a comprehensive performance in Wellington on Saturday.
Smit struggled to find positives in his side's display at the Westpac Stadium and conceded that they had made things far too easy for the All Blacks who punished them heavily for coughing up possession and slipping off tackles regularly throughout the match.
Smit's men did manage to put together a few promising periods in the match, but undid a lot of their hard work by making basic errors that the All Blacks were only too happy to capitalise on as they ran in three tries in each half.
The Springbok captain said that the 33-point defeat was a tough one to swallow, but in reality it could have been worse if All Black place-kicker Dan Carter had not struggled so much with his radar.
In the end it was only three points off the record winning margin between the two old foes and Smit was left rueing the way his side gave away so many soft points.
He commented: "The scoreboard looks pretty ugly, I think that the boys at certain stages played some good rugger but the age-old rule is that if your ball gets turned over against these blokes you are going to pay and we paid for that tonight.
"You can't afford to miss so many tackles, so that is certainly something that cost us tonight," added the Bok skipper.
One of the most worrying aspects of the Springboks performance is that they seemed to be making the same mistakes that cost them so dearly against Australia last week, and Smit sounded like a man growing weary of banging his head against a brick wall.
"We did not play enough direct rugby and could not hold onto ball at crucial times. We will learn whatever we can out of tonight, but at the end of the day it was the same thing as last week - our defence was exposed from turnover ball, and we have got to make sure that we fix that up," he said.
The Boks head home after conceding two bonus points,11 tries and 79 points in total in their first two matches in the competition, but Smit remains hopeful that they will be able to turn things around on the home leg when they are likely to field a vastly different team.
"It's always terrible to lose, especially against our arch-rivals the All Blacks, but it is something we will all have to take in. We will see when we get back home, and we will try and lift our game," Smit explained.
Many will question whether there is anything to be gained from receiving consecutive drubbings playing in the Springbok jersey, but Smit said that the young players in the team would be able to learn from experiences such as this.
"We brought some young players over here and they would have grown immensely from tonight's experience and would have seen what can be done with ball in hand and how dangerous it can be when you spill it up," he said.
Most will argue that all the experience will do is knock the confidence of some promising players who are looking to play themselves into contention for a spot in the World Cup squad, so it will be interesting to see how they fare in the home leg of the Tri-Nations - if they are involved at all.
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