Throughout the game we were not quite good enough
South Africa, who survived a brave second-half comeback from England, are busy building a team that can rise to the top of the world rankings.
This is the opinion of England coach Stuart Lancaster, after watching his team suffer a 27-36 loss to the Springboks in Johannesburg on Saturday - a result that saw them take a winning 2-0 lead in the three-Test series.
Lancaster said his team was "frustrated" at coming so near and yet so far in their fightback and spoke about the narrow margin between success and failure, but paid tribute to the Boks for their win.
"I think Heyneke Meyer is putting together a quite formidable team," said Lancaster.
England skipper and flank Chris Robshaw also spoke of the "disappointing" of two close defeats - 17-22 in Durban last week and now by nine points in Johannesburg.
"We started quite poorly and the Springboks came out all guns blazing and did not give us a second chance," Robshaw said.
"Throughout the game we were not quite good enough."
Lancaster, however, was heartened by England's second-half performance.
England conceded three tries in the first quarter of the match to give the Boks what turned out to be a winning lead.
The teams now travel to Port Elizabeth for the third Test next weekend and England will be looking for a morale-boosting win.
"Giving South Africa such a start put us under huge pressure, but I am delighted with the boys in the second half and the pride in coming back to get the score back to 31-27," Lancaster said.
"We were then pushing down the right wing and it is small margins.
"We recognise we can't start slowly that but there is a lot to take from it, a lot of positives.
"As we said at the outset, it is about developing experiences and learning and this group is certainly doing that. The players that came off the bench made a difference and we played some good stuff in the second half, no doubt about it. But we left ourselves too much to do."
Lancaster said "frustration" was probably the overriding emotion.
"There was definitely a period in the first half when we were hanging on by our fingernails but we got the try early in the second half and got back the belief.
"The players that came off the bench made a difference and we played some good stuff in the second half, no doubt about it.
"But we left ourselves too much to do."