Ireland stand-in captain Jamie Heaslip put part of the blame for their 16-12 defeat to South Africa on himself after his charges lost at the Aviva Stadium.
Heaslip was yellow carded when the Boks were trailing 12-3 on 42 minutes, which led to the visitors continuing their good start to the half.
"We started well in the first half and built up a good lead," Heaslip said after the game.
"We came out in the second half and as captain I should lead by example, but being yellow-carded wasn't a good example.
"I put my hand up straight away when we came in afterwards. I'm a better servant on the field than off it."
Ireland's defeat was their fifth in a row in a run that mirrors their dismal spell of 1998 and also backs up their 60-0 negative to New Zealand in June.
"The last game in the summer was unacceptable. This is a step forward in terms of bringing guys through, but we're here to win matches," said head coach Declan Kidney.
"That's what we get judged on and that's what we have to do. You don't pull on the jersey to come second.
"They got better field position and then started their mauling game. They smothered the ball for long periods of time and then we didn't get fast ball when we were in the positions we wanted to be in.
"We lost the game, but four new guys won caps and they'll gain from this experience. This is a tough learning curve and we need to get something out of the match against Argentina here in a fortnight's time."