Steve Hansen was right to listen to his heart in the wake of the All Blacks' loss at Ellis Park. The Springboks, as his vital organ told him, deserved to win.
On balance South Africa played the better rugby - or certainly they played if for longer periods. They are well poised to build into a yet more formidable side in the next 12 months and are, along with England, the most serious threat.
But while the All Blacks have no desire to downplay South Africa's victory or obvious potential, it's not as if they don't have similar room for growth.
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Injuries are part and parcel of test football: no side ever has an entirely clean bill of health. South Africa were missing Willem Alberts and Ruan Pienaar in Johannesburg.
The All Blacks, however, were compromised to a level beyond the usual. They were missing enough talent that it hurt them: prevented them from delivering what they wanted. That's not an excuse - it's a basis to feel confident they can lift their performance over the next 12 months.
To come back into the frame are Tony Woodcock, Wyatt Crockett, Brodie Retallick, Patrick Tuipulotu, Dominic Bird, Luke Romano, Aaron Cruden, Daniel Carter, Ma'a Nonu and Sonny Bill Williams.
The difference they could make would be massive. Starting with the world class Woodcock means the vastly improved Crockett could come off the bench and make an impact. That's a big lift from starting with Joe Moody and bringing on Joe Moody.
Retallick was sorely missed at Ellis Park - arguably if he'd played the All Blacks would have sneaked home. Instead, they started with the man who would, most likely sit sixth in the pecking order. Thrush is what Hansen called a 'battler' and while he hasn't given anything other than all he's got, it's still not quite enough.. Starting a test with Sam Whitelock and Retallick with Tuipulotu on the bench - that gives the All Blacks a world class pairing and impact later in the piece.
A fully fit Carter pulling the strings with Cruden in reserve and Beauden Barrett as a luxury wild card on the bench - that's to be feared. That package would be more dangerous again if Nonu was in 12 and Williams on the bench or vice versa.
Malakai Fekitoa was magnificent but he's in his first year of test football. By the end of the game the All Blacks only had one specialist lock on the field and a handful of players such as Colin Slade, Ryan Crotty and Franks who won't necessarily even be in the squad this time next year.
There is plenty of reason to be wary about the Boks but none to be fearful about what defeat means for the All Blacks.