Star Springbok flank Schalk Burger, in a rare occurrence for him, was replaced 20 minutes from the end of yesterday's defeat to the All Blacks because the coach felt he was not playing well enough to stay on the field.
Burger was replaced with the score 5-0 to New Zealand and South Africa very much in the game, with Luke Watson coming on to the field as his replacement.
Watson, who has never featured prominently in any match he has played against a top nation, made no significant impact and the final minutes saw the All Blacks take control and score two more tries to win 19-0.
"Schalk was not playing well in this game and that is why we replaced him. We felt there was no point in overplaying him," said Bok coach Peter de Villiers.
It was a big call from the new coach, and his decision is sure to be discussed long and hard in the post-mortems into what went wrong.
The problem for the Boks was that it was a day when they clearly lacked physical presence.
Although the Boks were outplayed at the breakdowns in this match, Burger does at least bring the hard edge that was lacking on the day.
Both De Villiers and skipper Victor Matfield were at a loss to explain what went wrong at the breakdowns, but both of them hinted that they weren't happy with the interpretations of referee Matt Goddard in this area.
From the Press box it did appear there were many occasions when the All Blacks were displaying the Kiwi tendency of lying across the ball.
"It was all in the heat of the moment and I wanted to find out what was going on because we felt All Black players were lying across the ball, but in the end the big concern was that our players were coming in from the side," said Matfield.
"We will have to go back and look at the video and assess where it went wrong. We made a lot of mistakes today, and it is not nice to lose, but I never felt that we were as bad as the scoreline that went against us."
A disappointed De Villiers last night hinted that the emotion of the occasion of Percy Montgomery's 100th cap for his country may also have cost the team.
The Kiwis won 19-0 and scored three tries to nil in what represented a comprehensive drubbing for the world champions, but De Villiers felt it was the first 20 minutes, when the Boks fell behind to an early try to All Black centre Conrad Smith, that condemned them to playing catch-up rugby.
"We just didn't get into the game in the first 20 minutes and then we had to play catch-up rugby and just made mistakes," said De Villiers.
The coach said that his team were in a transitional phase with regards to their new more expansive style of rugby, something that was more in evidence yesterday than was indicated in the build-up and more apparent than many Bok fans would have hoped.
"We had a lot of opportunities that we did not round off, particularly in the first half," lamented Matfield.
It was the second time he had said that this season, for he said it after the loss to Australia in Perth too.
Maybe sometime the penny will drop that the discipline and structure that won a World Cup is the platform from which the Boks should be building. It was not something they seemed very aware of yesterday.