South Africa coach Allister Coetzee had mixed feelings after a 37-15 Rugby Championship first round triumph over Argentina in chilly Port Elizabeth Saturday.
"I am very pleased with the victory, but it was not a perfect performance," said the 54-year-old coach who endured a disastrous first season in charge last year.
It was the fourth consecutive win for the Springboks this year following a 3-0 series whitewash of France during June.
Last season, South Africa suffered a calendar-year record eight losses in 12 Tests, including a first to European minnows Italy.
"Our scrumming was outstanding with (tighthead) Coenie Oosthuizen delivering an exceptional performance," Coetzee told reporters in the eastern coastal city.
"Mauling is another area where we have improved and the bench made a telling difference when called on.
Among those who came off the bench was 20-year-old fly-half Curwin Bosch, whose entry three minutes from time was greeted with thunderous applause.
The utility back shone for the Durban-based Coastal Sharks in Super Rugby this year and many pundits believe he is destined to be a Springbok star.
Coetzee said patience and leadership was other contributing factors as South Africa began with a win in a competition that includes world champions New Zealand and Australia.
"The message at half-time was to remain patient and continue adhering to the game plan," he said.
"Argentina were leaving gaps at the back and I think we exploited them with the players backing themselves when they found space."
Coetzee also praised the defensive tactics, saying: "The Pumas attacked us close to the rucks and we were ready for that with the guys putting in some big tackles."
But Coetzee, who survived public and media calls for his resignation after the horror 2016 season, said there were also areas that concerned him.
"We need to improve in a number of areas, such as the lineouts and our tactical kicking," admitted the former provincial scrum-half.
Skipper and lock Eben Etzebeth hailed the near-capacity 43,500 crowd who braved late southern hemisphere winter conditions to back the green and gold.
"A lot of credit must be given to the supporters here in Port Elizabeth," said the stand-in skipper with number eight Warren Whiteley sidelined by a groin injury.
"They created a great vibe, not only this evening, but also during our open training sessions during the week."
Rugby Championship title-holders New Zealand scored eight tries and led by 48 points at one stage en route to a 54-34 victory over Australia in Sydney earlier Saturday.
The bonus-point victory gave the All Blacks five points, the Springboks have four and the Wallabies and Pumas are pointless.
New Zealand play Australia in Dunedin and Argentina face South Africa in Salta next Saturday.