Heyneke Meyer almost cost the Boks a test match on Saturday night. The coach's decision to bring on the entire Springbok bench in the second half was a big mistake, according to former England lock Paul Ackford, writing on the Ellis Park test in the Sunday Telegraph.
"It was difficult not to think that a massacre was coming," said Ackford as the Boks led 25-10 at halftime.
He said that there had been only one team in it at that time - the Boks. But England weathered the storm, benefiting from a "plethora of replacements".
The Boks won the test 36-27 to clinch the three-test series 2-0, but England shaded them 17-11 in the second half.
During that period, Springbok flyhalf Morne Steyn's kicking boots had deserted him - "a cause for national mourning in this part of the world", said Ackford - and Meyer unloaded the bench.
"Big mistake," wrote Ackford. "South Africa's disorganisation was apparent as (Francois) Hougaard, who had enjoyed a much better game, was shunted to the wing. Tackles were missed, mistakes made and England suddenly found themselves getting close to a significant surprise."
That the Boks held on to win had much to do with their physical supremacy - a markedly changed team from the disorganised lot that turned up in Durban to win the first test 22-17.
"This was South Africa in all their pomp," wrote Ackford. "Big, physical men taking an almost sadistic pleasure in tossing England defenders around as if they were rag dolls."
But he warned there was an arrogance to the crushing supremacy of the Boks. They blew several chances through selfish, glory-hunting players. Bismarck du Plessis was especially at fault.
England's 21-year-old centre Jonathan Joseph, who made his first test start on Saturday night, almost got his hand under the ball when Du Plessis scored the Boks' second try.
"On the playing fields of Millfield (the famous English rugby school where he learnt the game) Joseph had not dreamt of this," wrote Mick Cleary in the Sunday Telegraph.
"This was no Arcadian fantasy: this was raw, ferocious, in-your-face rugby being played out in the bad lands of downtown Joburg. Even Bear Grylls would struggle to find a way to survive."
But the Boks did find a way and have now taken on nine England teams in succession - and prevailed each time. The third test in Port Elizabeth may be a dead rubber, but it could be a cracker.
How the Boks rated
CRAIG RAY marks the Boks out of 10
6: Pat Lambie - Solid and brave after twisting his ankle. The injury limited his movement.
9: JP Pietersen - Possibly his best game in green and gold. All energy, power and vision. England unable to contain him.
6: Jean de Villiers - Solid, if unspectacular. Had his hands full with Manu Tuilagi but held his own and showed good touches with ball in hand.
7: Frans Steyn - Strong attacking weapon in first half when all his skills were on display. Less influential at fullback.
6: Bryan Habana - Did all that was expected of him, but it was one of those games that didn't run his way.
6: Morne Steyn - His erratic goal-kicking remains a mystery but his ability to lead the attack was top notch.
7: Francois Hougaard - Responded to criticism after first test with polished performance, shielded more by his pack.
7: Pierre Spies - He has improved since Heyneke Meyer had some pointed words with him last month.
8: Willem Alberts - A one-man wrecking ball but also has underrated subtle skills. England battled to contain him again.
8: Marcell Coetzee - He has so much energy and seldom failed to take the ball over the advantage line in contact.
6: Juandre Kruger - Was solid in the set piece and useful around the park before an injury cut short his afternoon.
7: Eben Etzebeth - All fire and brimstone, using supreme athletic gifts superbly. Took several lineouts and was visible in the tight-loose.
7: Jannie du Plessis - Scrummed strongly and always a willing ball-carrier close to fringes of the rucks, Created some panic in the English defence.
9: Bismarck du Plessis - Massive game, smashing his way over the advantage line, stealing ball on the deck and generally creating havoc.
7: Tendai Mtawarira - Scrummed well and ran good support in the loose while also hitting rucks with venom.
4: Adriaan Strauss - Hardly featured One of the men on the pitch when the scrum fell to pieces.
4: Werner Kruger - Battled in the scrums, contributed little else.
5: Flip van der Merwe - Toiled manfully but, as a part of a rejigged tight five, was also culpable in the late scrumming woes.
5: Keegan Daniel - Tried hard but lacks the ability to knock defenders over.
5: Ruan Pienaar - Always on back foot behind a retreating pack in late stages.
4: Wynand Olivier - Hard to remember.