"Using their loosehead prop to scrum in, and at times when he didn't scrum in he just came up, gave them the momentum to come in around us," said de Villiers.
"They were blown for that in the previous games and we were assured the referee would look at that. It didn't happen."
De Villiers, who was taking charge of his fourth full international, has suggested that his side will have to be more streetwise if they are to gain immediate revenge in Saturday's Test in Dunedin.
"They were blown up 21 times in the previous three games (a win over Ireland and two over England) and they were allowed to play it in this one.
"We just have to become illegal sometimes too. We will have to look after ourselves."