With Wales leading 30-24 in the 77th minute, Bok wing Cornal Hendricks was high-tackled on the corner flag by Welsh fullback Liam Williams, which lead to referee Steve Walsh awarding the Boks a highly-debated match-winning penalty try.
“There was no guarantee he (Hendricks) would have gone on to score for sure,” said a disappointed Gatland.
“Maybe a yellow card or a penalty would have been more appropriate or maybe the wing should have scored.
“It would have at least made the conversion a difficult one.”
Gatland however added he doesn’t necessarily “disagree with the decision as Williams went in with the shoulder saying the player apologised to his team-mates afterwards”.
The Boks never lead in the game until the final few minutes, while early Welsh tries by centre Jamie Roberts and wing Alex Cuthbert had the Bok boat rocking at 17-0 down.
“I’m really gutted, but also very proud how the guys fronted up after all the negative criticism they received after being outplayed the week before in Durban,” said Gatland.
“To play one of the two top teams in world rugby and to lose like that.
“It was there for us to win.”
It was, however, Gatland’s following statement that would make South Africans ponder.
“We are still well off the pace from the All Blacks, but pretty much on par with SA and Australia.”