Wales coach Warren Gatland wants more 'risk taking' from his team
Warren Gatland was frustrated with his Wales side for handing South Africa victory "on a plate" as the world champions won 34-31 in Cardiff.
The Springboks fought back from 16-3 down to beat a Welsh team boasting nine British and Irish Lions with a ruthless efficiency - to Gatland's annoyance.
"We were outstanding for 25 minutes and controlling it at 16-3 up, then we just handed them the game," said the coach.
"Ill-discipline let them back into it and we gave them the game on a plate."
Wales were in the unusual position of heading into the Millennium Stadium summer Test against the world champions as favourites because South Africa were without star players such as Bryan Habana, Schalk Burger, Pierre Spies and Bakkies Botha.
But the Welsh were unable to live up to their pre-match billing and earn a second win over the southern hemisphere super power which would have added to a memorable triumph in 1999.
In the opening 25 minutes we were clinical, accurate and 16-3 up, and then we caught some sort of disease, I don't know what it is
Wales coach Warren Gatland
A South African onslaught in 20 minute spells either side of half-time saw the Springboks lead 31-19 - and error-strewn Wales could not fight back despite a spirited late rally.
"South Africa don't make mistakes," said Gatland.
"It is just about being accurate, not making mistakes and doing the the simple things.
"We just went through a poor period and of course the other side will come back into the game.
"We lost three line-outs in a row, we had a couple of turnovers at the breakdown and at 16-3 we gave away a stupid penalty through Jonathan Thomas that gave them a bit of momentum.
"We also missed a couple of tackles and it was disappointing."
Wales centre James Hook had given Wales the lead before the Springboks turned the game on its head as Odwa Ndungane, Dewald Potgieter and Juan de Jongh over-powered the bewildered hosts.
Teenage wing Tom Prydie and replacement lock Alun Wyn Jones scored late on for Wales but the dramatic comeback was thwarted by the resolute Springboks.
Wales, the 2008 Grand Slam champions, have beaten just one Tri-Nations super-power in 15 meetings against New Zealand, South Africa and Australia - and Gatland is fed up with his side being gallant losers.
"We are frustrated," said Gatland, who has now seen his side lose out in close games against France, New Zealand, Ireland and South Africa twice over the course of the last two seasons.
"If that was a couple of years ago we would have said what a good performance it was. But we have come on from there.
Ryan Jones bemoans Wales 'errors' that helped the Springboks
"In the opening 25 minutes we were clinical, accurate and 16-3 up, and then we caught some sort of disease, I don't know what it is.
"We got ourselves in a bit of trouble, got behind and then showed great character at the end. But we are frustrated at a missed opportunity.
"We played the world champions today. Guys who played in the Super 14 final last week, and the Stormers and the Bulls are two of the best teams in the world.
"The thing from today is you feel like you are not too far away and you are not turning up thinking we hope to have a good day and they have a bad day and we can cause an upset.
"We know if we are more clinical we are capable of beating anyone. Today was an opportunity we didn't take.
"As a team you grow and mature and learn to handle situations and sometimes it's about a bit of luck, getting that win that can transform a side's confidence and belief."
Gatland was also left exasperated at his side - who now face two daunting Tests in New Zealand later this month - taking more risks.
The Kiwi coach highlighted experienced Lions fly-half Jones' late penalty opportunity as a time where his team should have gambled.
"We had a chance to win the game so it is all or nothing," added Gatland.
Fly-half Stephen Jones bemoans Wales inefficiency
"There's no point kicking the ball 10 metres up the touchline, that's no good.
"You have to drill it well into their 22 and if it goes dead - then it's one of those things that happens if you are trying to win the game. We need to take more risks."
Gatland's skipper Ryan Jones admitted South Africa won the game after capitalising on Wales' errors.
"We lacked composure," said the Ospreys number eight.
"There will be periods of the game when you will be in the ascendancy and others where it is about how you can weather their storm.
"We have to tighten up on errors and tidy up set-pieces.
"It doesn't come any tougher than going to New Zealand but we know what to expect and I think we will be extremely competitive down there. We are going to play our game and give it a real go."
Wales have not beaten the All Blacks on their own turf in five attempts - conceding 50 points on their last three visits to New Zealand.
Fly-half Stephen Jones acknowledged his team-mates must improve before the first Test in Dunedin on 19 June.
"We don't want to be chasing the game," he added.
"There are aspects of our game that we must work on but we are looking forward to New Zealand."
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