Wales boss Warren Gatland claims Dan Biggar's last-gasp drop-goal attempt was the wrong option as his side lost agonisingly to the Springboks in Nelspruit.
Trailing by a point after a late, late penalty try had given South Africa the lead for the first time in the match, the New Zealander bemoaned Wales' lack of accuracy.
"We had crucial scrum with a few minutes to go," said Gatland.
"Those are the critical moments and you have to be 100% accurate.
"I don't think we got the last kick right.
"Mike Phillips made a bit of a break and we needed to get our backs on the right side of the field.
"Dan had already missed the first one from 40m and he missed the next one from 50m.
"We must make sure when those opportunities come along we have to be accurate.
Gatland thought referee Steve Walsh had done his duty well, and was proud of the performance put in by his team after last week's drubbing by the same opposition.
"We said we were poor in the first half last week and we worked really hard to put that right since," added Gatland.
"It's a big improvement in terms of the way we played and scored some really good tries.
"I'm proud of the effort but gutted about the result."
Welsh kipper Alun Wyn Jones reckons his team's fine display has laid down a marker for next year's World Cup.
Wyn Jones, who captained the British and Irish Lions to victory Down Under a year ago, has been an inspirational figure for club and country during a mixed 12 months for Wales.
But he feels Saturday's showing in a sickening 31-30 defeat will "send a flare up into the sky" to rival nations.
"We are 15 to 16 months out from the World Cup," said Wyn Jones.
"Hopefully, this will send a bit of a flare up into the sky to say we are still here and hopefully we can be contenders.
"We wanted to show the fans that were not out here on a jolly. We wanted to put a good performance on.
"We have had a long week and after last week we wanted to play the next day."