"I thought Gareth Thomas was inspirational out there to rally the troops when they went behind early," he said. "Andrew Hore is doing great things with their fitness, Clive Griffiths has been working hard on our defensive line and Scottie Johnson has our backline firing.
"Now it's up to me to improve our set piece. We can't be satisfied by getting close - we can't be upbeat about that result. We have to go back to our base and improve.
"We showed a lot of spirit and character to come back and take the game to them at the end.
"We just have to tidy up the set pieces. We had to try a lot of new combinations and they were a more settled unit up front. They were better than us on the day, but we'll improve and we'll see how we go against teams like this in 12 months.
"We were quietly confident before the match because of the quality of players coming back into the side, but we lost it in the first quarter. We gave them too much of a start.
"Hopefully, everyone saw a bit of a spark in this Wales team - they're not afraid of anyone. There were a lot of positives in this match - the obvious negative was that we lost."
Wales scored more points against South Africa than ever before, but Newport-based fullback Percy Montgomery chipped in with a match-winning 23 points to turn the tide.
Wales Captain "Alfie" Thomas added: "We started playing too late.
"There was a bit of inexperience in our side, and perhaps the boys started playing the game in their minds last night.
"By the time the game kicked off, they were perhaps a bit tired!"
Springbok coach Jake White was a relieved man afterwards. "All credit to this Wales team," he said.
"Most other sides would have given up hope in that match. It was a relief to win it in the end."