Wales coach Warren Gatland was left with the conflicting emotions of fury and pride after watching his side lose 20-15 to South Africa in Cardiff.
He said: "We had a chance to beat the world champions and we let ourselves down. That's a painful experience we went through.
But he added: "To be honest, I'm really proud of the performance."
Gatland was particularly frustrated at Wales' inability to convert numerous line-breaks into tries.
At the same time the hosts dominated much of contest only for the Springboks to show how clinical a top-tier team must be.
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"Good teams handle pressure and they convert situations into points and they've got to learn from that. We know we're not too far away," said Gatland.
"I just had a real crack at the players in the changing rooms and said that if we want to be where we think we can be, good teams nail big moments and we should be furious with that because we had a chance to beat the world champions and we let ourselves down."
Wales number eight Andy Powell gave a man-of-the-match performance on his Test debut but rued their mistakes in the 20-15 defeat.
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