Though they were again edged by higher-ranked opponents on Sunday, Proteas head coach Dorette Badenhorst insists her side remains on the right track.
The national side were handed a 65-63 defeat by hosts England in London, ending the Netball Nations Cup without a win.
Earlier in the competition, the SA team had lost to Jamaica (59-54), England (58-54) and world champions New Zealand (48-41).
Turning out in the third-place playoff, England took early control, and they held a 36-29 lead at half-time.
The South Africans clawed their way back in the third quarter, and they were just one point behind (49-48) going into the last stanza.
While they continued to fight hard in the final quarter, with the scores level at 62-62 with less than two minutes left, the Proteas let it slip at the death, ultimately falling short by two points.
“It was a great game,” Badenhorst said.
“I’m still very proud of the ladies. They showed a lot of guts.
“There were a few tough calls against us, but need to learn to make sure we are able to get back into the game.”
Despite continuing their battle against the world’s top sides, Badenhorst was satisfied with the start they had in her first full season in charge.
While they lost all four Nations Cup matches, the world No 5 Proteas held three of the globe’s top four sides to within seven points in all their contests.
Badenhorst remained confident of the squad’s ability in the long-term build-up to the 2023 Netball World Cup in Cape Town.
“We’re beginning a four-year cycle, and I learned a lot in these games, as did the players,” she said.
“We have so many combinations out there who can make a difference, so we’ll take a lot from this, and we were playing against the best in the world. It was a great opportunity.”