Brisbane, Australia (AFP) - Coach Allister Coetzee has called for South Africa's discipline to improve after they let slip an early lead to go down to Australia in the Rugby Championship in Brisbane.
The Springboks travel to New Zealand for their next match in the tournament against world champions All Blacks on Saturday, and Coetzee said his team must make better on-field decisions.
South Africa began boldly with tries through Warren Whiteley and Johan Goosen for an early 14-3 lead inside the opening 20 minutes. But Australia fought back to trail 14-13 at half-time before edging South Africa 23-17 to snap a six-game losing streak.
Lock Eben Etzebeth was yellow-carded in the match and the Springboks conceded 11 penalties to deny their chances of winning their second match in this year's southern hemisphere tournament.
Coetzee said it was frustrating to see missed opportunities because of the flow of penalties against them.
"I was really pleased with the start and just again, it's like a scratched record, our discipline let us down," Coetzee told reporters after Saturday's Test. "That actually got Australia back into the game, they got territory and they could put us under pressure.
"Their (second) try came from penalties, that's how they clawed their way back into the game.
"We need to make better decisions, our discipline wasn't good."
While disappointed to lose again after coming off a 26-24 loss to the Pumas in Argentina last month, Coetzee highlighted some positives.
"Our set-piece functioned well, especially on our own scrum ball and our lineouts," he said. "We were physical and dominated the collision exchanges, created enough scoring opportunities but lost the ball in contact at times when we needed to go through one or two more phases.
"We also tried to play a bit too much in our own half. They got territory from it and managed to put us under pressure."
The Springboks have now won just two of their last 13 internationals in Australia, and have only won once in six Tests at Brisbane's Suncorp Stadium.
The South Africans travel to Christchurch to face the unbeaten All Blacks next weekend.
A loss to New Zealand would put South Africa at the bottom of the Rugby Championship standings, having already lost to Argentina and the Wallabies.