South Africa coach Rassie Erasmus said his side had put on a “terrible” performance and failed to adapt to referee Glen Jackson in the 25-10 third-Test loss to England at a wet Newlands on Saturday.
With the series secured, Erasmus made five changes for the final Test, four in the backline, including a switch at flyhalf as Elton Jantjies replaced Handre Pollard.
Jantjies battled throughout, dropping two balls in his own half that led to points for England and having a clearance kick charged down that also resulted in a successful penalty conversion for the visitors.
Erasmus said it was England’s dominance in the forwards and his side’s poor discipline that led to the loss.
“We took a few gambles today but I think if the loss was down to a lack of combinations and understanding it would have been more acceptable,” Erasmus said. “But discipline has got nothing to do with that.
“Overall I am very disappointed about those things that we could control. We were terrible today in my opinion.”
Erasmus replaced Jantjies with Pollard just before the hour-mark, having said in the week that he was always loathe to substitute his starting flyhalf.
“Elton’s a grown man and he understands it was just all piling up. The charge down, our pack wasn’t dominating, it was wet, he had some young outside backs next to him.
“The pressure was really on him and I thought I could release it and still win the test match. So it was not just an Elton problem, our pack was not dominating.”
South Africa had a penalty count of 14-6 against them, a reversal from the first two Tests and Erasmus was frustrated by his side’s inability to read referee Jackson.
“At the breakdown, we did a whole profile on Glen. He is a guy that gives by far the most penalties at breakdown for tacklers not releasing and sealing off, and we prepared for that.
“It’s what you get with Glen, he wants a nice clean breakdown and so it was not like it was a surprise to us. I don’t think they were unfair penalties, he is just like that.
“We didn’t get up for this game, which was really disappointing with the way we trained this week. I have to have a look at myself because maybe there were things I did wrong. We gave some stupid penalties away which we normally don’t.”
Next up for the Boks is the Rugby Championship against New Zealand, Australia and Argentina that gets underway on 19 August.
“You can’t experiment against the All Blacks so the time for that is now over and hopefully we can kick on and win some test matches,” he said.