Wales defence coach Shaun Edwards believes the team is heading in the right direction despite falling to yet another defeat to a southern giant.
South Africa won 24-15 last weekend, meaning that the Welsh continue to be stuck on just one triumph from their 22 meetings with the big trio.
But Edwards is confident that there are "good times" ahead for Warren Gatland's men, with injuries having a major impact on the result.
"Injuries to backs in the first-half is a coach's nightmare," he said.
"To have to reshuffle and still be within two points of South Africa on 68 minutes was a sterling effort from the lads. As I said to them after the match, good times will be ahead if we continue in that vein.
"It was a Test match of epic proportions. The intensity, aggression and technique at the breakdown was outstanding.
"I am disappointed that we conceded three tries. The last one was debatable (television replays showed Springboks centre Jaque Fourie was offside in the build-up) and another big call went against us.
"But the record books will say three tries, and we could have scrambled better for the third one, even though Fourie was offside. That is something we will be working on.
"There is no doubt that the intensity was a step up for everybody, and I was proud of the way that the team hung in there with the injuries that we had.
"The southern hemisphere teams always have an advantage heading into the autumn because they have been together for three months.
"But I feel that the level of that game at the weekend was outstanding - the physicality, the tactics and the breakdown. Playing at that level can only stand us in good stead.
"There is no doubt it was a step up, and I felt that we matched them, particularly at the breakdown, where we got 10 contact turnovers."