And with next year's World Cup in mind, Gatland is identifying areas for improvement before his charges run out in Nelspruit on Saturday.
"We have come here with a different focus on this tour," he said.
"It's preparation for the World Cup and there was also the short turnaround after the game against the EP Kings on Tuesday.
"We did a lot of work with that team and the Test side haven't run or trained a lot together. I'm not making any excuses for the result.
Gatland replaced Lions prop Adam Jones, who was making his 100th Test appearance, after just 31 minutes in a tactical switch, and says Wales need to make changes in both attack and defence.
"I can promise you we will be a lot better next week," Gatland added. "We know the areas we need to improve on.
"We have to work hard on the breakdown. We have also got to be more aggressive in coming off the line defensively and more competitive in the collision area.
"We have to look at the chances we missed on attack as well."