South Africa coach Allister Coetzee admitted he was "hurting" after a humiliating 57-15 mauling at home by New Zealand in a Rugby Championship final-round match on Saturday.
"I am hurting and I know what pain feels like. I have been in similar situations before," he said following a record defeat in 93 Tests against their greatest rivals.
"This group (current squad) will have to turn things round. Seeing our supporters leaving the stands before the final whistle was not a pleasant sight.
"There will be no excuses from us -- the All Blacks are a world class team and we are not at the same level yet."
Coetzee became the second black coach of the Springboks last April after Heyneke Meyer changed his mind about seeking a second four-year contract.
Although he guided South Africa to third place at the 2015 World Cup in England, Meyer was widely criticised at home by the public and media for "pre-historic" tactics and failing to give black stars a chance.
"We gave our best, but sometimes your best is still not good enough," admitted Coetzee after a Test in which his team conceded seven second-half tries having trailed only 12-9 at half-time.
"That was the case in Durban tonight. The players and coaches worked hard this week, but we have to take a hard look at ourselves. We are the only ones who can turn this around.
"There are not many players out there that can really strengthen our squad," insisted the coach who has lost five of nine matches in charge, including two at home.
"We have to look at a number of areas, including our kicking game and our aerial skills.
"As a country, we lack certain skills and that is something we all need to work on."
In November, South Africa face the Barbarians in London, England, Italy and Wales during an end-of-season tour.
"We are under constant pressure to win Tests. We are between a rock and a hard place.
"We need to blood players at the beginning of a new four-year cycle, but we cannot experiment too much. We are embarrassed, but we need to stand up and show we have fight left in us."
Skipper and hooker Adriaan Strauss, playing at home for the final time ahead of his Test retirement after the tour to Europe, remained hopeful despite the nine-try mauling.
"We have the talent and I am positive about the future," he insisted.
"Tonight we were nowhere. We need to bounce back and show some resilience and character -- the talent is there to do that."
New Zealand clinched the title after the fourth round and Australia or Argentina, who meet in London later Saturday, could overtake second-place South Africa.