Scotland head coach Andy Robinson felt a marked improvement in discipline and their tackling was the key to the transformation of their play around the 50-minute mark of their 21-10 defeat by South Africa.
Scotland had only had one attack of note by the time Adrian Strauss crossed for his second try in the 46th minute to help the tourists to an 18-point lead. But they put the Springboks under sustained pressure for the remaining half hour, after replacement scrum-half Henry Pyrgos had crossed over in the 51st minute to reduce the deficit.
Robinson said: "The last 30 minutes was very pleasing but what happened in the first 50 minutes was hugely frustrating. We faced a different threat today. Last week we faced speed and this week we were facing physicality - they are probably the toughest team to play against. It showed the gulf and where we are."
Ultimately their efforts proved too little, too late to avoid a second defeat of their EMC Test series, but they had enough chances to equal their three-try haul during last weekend's 51-22 defeat by New Zealand.
He added: "We can't afford to give penalties away in the way we did. We need to improve our discipline because we gave them field positions and the ability to build their maul in the first half.
"In the second half we didn't give penalties away so our defence was on the front foot. In the first half we allowed SA to get momentum by tackling high. After half-time we tackled low, which stopped their momentum and we played inside their half."
South Africa head coach Heyneke Meyer also felt discipline was the key to the sudden swing in momentum, but praised his side for keeping Scotland out in the last half hour.
"I'm really disappointed with the second half," he said. "I thought we played tactically very well in the first half. The plan was to put them under pressure and I thought at 14-3 at half-time we could move on from there.
"The second half we just gave away too many penalties. I just checked the stats quickly but it was seven penalties just from scrums. But I'm very happy with the character of the players, our defence was awesome. Also Scotland deserve a lot of credit, they really came at us in the second half.
"I thought we were in control and then there was a pretty huge swing in the momentum. But that's how you win trophies and World Cups and we will learn from that because we were under huge pressure and kept them out."