Any hopes the Springboks had of finishing the year on a high were dashed by a classy Welsh team in Cardiff on Saturday, with the men in green and gold going down 20-11.
It means Rassie Erasmus’ men finish with just two wins from four Tests on tour, having beaten France and Scotland, but falling short against England and Wales.
It was just Wales’ sixth win over the Boks in 35 Tests, but fourth in a row, and fifth in their past six games against South Africa.
It means Erasmus finished the year with a 50% record, having won seven of 14 Tests.
He has managed the Boks to a win against every country they have played, with the exception of Wales, who beat them in Washington DC and at the Principality Stadium.
For Wales, it was their ninth straight win and their fourth from four during the end-of-year Tests, having accounted for Scotland, Tonga, Australia and the Boks.
With the World Cup in Japan just 10 months away, it means it is back to the drawing board for the Springbok team and management.
The Boks are just far too inconsistent to be real title contenders. They have produced wonderful performances against the All Blacks in Wellington and at Loftus, yet then fail to continue their run against the likes of Argentina, Australia, England and now, Wales.
While Erasmus seems to be getting closer to finding his strongest combinations, they lack flair when it comes to attacking and their midfield look short on ideas.
As well as Handre Pollard has played in the No 10 jersey, the team look far better on attack when Elton Jantjies is at flyhalf and Pollard at inside centre.
This option has to be explored more thoroughly if South Africa want to be taken more seriously with ball in hand. This year has been average for the Springboks. Let’s hope 2019 will be better.