Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer said his team's defence held the key to victory over Scotland at Murrayfield on Saturday.
Scotland dominated the final 30 minutes after Adrian Strauss intercepted Mike Blair's wayward pass to score his second try and give the Boks a healthy lead.
The visitors hardly threatened the Scottish line in the second half but Meyer was happy to take the result.
"All credit to Scotland, they played superbly and just great, great defence kept them out," said Meyer.
"It was not a great game but I'll take an ugly win.
"We know we can play much better but we mustn't take anything away from Scotland.
"They came out and gave everything for their country. I think they can be proud of what they achieved today.
"We're in a learning curve and I thought the guys didn't panic. Our defence was awesome.
"To keep them out at the end, it really showed the character of this young team."
"I'm really disappointed with the second half," he added.
"I thought we played tactically very well in the first half. The plan was to put them under pressure and I thought at 14-3 at half-time we could move on from there.
"The second half we just gave away too many penalties. I just checked the stats quickly but it was seven penalties just from scrums.
"I thought we were in control and then there was a pretty huge swing in the momentum. But that's how you win trophies and World Cups and we will learn from that because we were under huge pressure and kept them out.
"It's frustrating because we pride ourselves on discipline and we gave away 17 penalties, and that's unacceptable at this level."
Official Man of the match Francois Louw also gave credit to the Scots.
"They came out and put on a fight there. We had to fight for every inch," said Louw.
"Credit to our guys for holding out in defence."