Springbok boss Heyneke Meyer said he was frustrated with the breakdown after Scotland pushed his men all the way in a bruising clash on Saturday.
South Africa won 30-17 but the score was not a true reflection of how the match played out, with the Scots largely on top at Mbombela Stadium.
However, head coach Meyer spoke of differing breakdown interpretations after the match, with the fixture officiated by Frenchman Romain Poite.
"We always knew we had to adapt to Northern Hemisphere referees and the way they play the breakdown," Meyer said following the victory.
"It was very frustrating at times, probably sometimes guys not rolling away but all credit to Scotland.
"It is frustrating if you know you have the backs and you want to play exciting rugby but you don't get quick ball."
Meyer added: "Last year we probably would have lost these kind of games - so I thought the guys learnt a lot from this. To win 30-17 after being down 17-3, they showed a lot of character.
"I am obviously not happy with the first half but I thought we needed a game like this before we go into the championships. This team is still evolving and there are a lot of exciting players but you need to win games like this where you just grind out a win."