Australia head coach Robbie Deans has admitted that his side’s own failings contributed greatly to Saturday’s 53-8 defeat against the Springboks.
Having recorded their first win on South African soil for eight years the previous weekend, the Wallabies went into the Johannesburg clash in confident mood, but they were soon brought back down to earth by a rampant Springbok side.
The World Champions scored eight tries as they dented Australian confidence ahead of their deciding Tri Nations encounter against New Zealand on September 13.
Despite praising the South African performance, Deans recognised that the scoreline was more a reflection of his own team’s inadequacies rather than the brilliance of Peter de Villiers’ rejuvenated Boks.
"The Springboks profited a lot from our inaccuracy without a doubt,” said the former Canterbury Crusaders boss.
“It was as much about what we did as anything. It was what we did with the possession we had, and obviously the defence dropped away.
"We had some possession early, looked threatening, didn’t finish. The reverse of last week in many ways. It might have helped the mindset, ours and theirs, if we had scored early.
"They kicked us a lot of ball and we kicked it back to them. We didn’t produce any pressure from that, and with that lack of pressure they started to play.
"They played with a lot of confidence, as you do when you’ve been suffering for a while and you start to get a roll on and you become very difficult to stop. We didn’t help ourselves to that end.”
The result now means the Wallabies must beat the All Blacks in Sydney to claim their first Tri Nations crown since 2001.
However, despite the obvious disappointment, the fact that the outcome of the southern hemisphere’s premier international competition remains in their own hands means that Deans and his men will be putting this particular mauling behind them as quickly as possible.
“It’s done. Done and dusted,” said Deans.
"I’m not too concerned about the numbers to be frank. The degree doesn’t matter. You lose a Test match, you come second. You can chase the statistics all you like. A Test loss is a Test loss.
"It’s not dissimilar to our performance in Sydney (the 34-19 win against the All Blacks). Someone mentioned, statistically, it was the best performance by the Wallabies and yet the next week we were belted. That’s the way it is.
"I guess the only redeeming feature is that it is evident how much it took for us to lift the Mandela silverware (the previous Saturday). We achieved something and we have the opportunity to go on and achieve more.
"We will hang on to that. Obviously, we won’t be taking too much out of this other than the things we dropped off on.
"The Tri-Nations isn’t over. It’s what we do from here It’s a one-off encounter. One game that can make their season good. Whether they can do it remains to be seen."