Springboks coach Jacques Nienaber apologised to South African fans after the world champions were humbled by the resurgent Wallabies for the second time in six days.
Make what you will of the world rankings but they have to count for something and the Rugby Championship triggered some seismic shifts this weekend.
Australia, ranked seventh not so long ago, jumped from fifth to third on the back of tonight's stirring 30-17 win at Suncorp Stadium that has restored faith in the team's direction under Kiwi coach Dave Rennie.
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And the All Blacks supplanted South Africa as the world's No.1 ranked side, flexing their muscle as a largely second string side cruised past a disappointing Argentina 36-13.
The backlash will be fierce in South Africa and it is a stunning fall from grace for the 2019 Rugby World Cup winners who then tamed the British and Irish Lions this year.
The twin losses to the Wallabies ratchet up the pressure on Nienaber who works under the immense shadow cast by South Africa's director of rugby Rassie Erasmus.
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Erasmus, who coached the Springboks to World Cup glory, was the world's most qualified water boy during the Lions series win but did not travel to Australia for the Rugby Championship.
"This is not a performance that I would say was worthy enough for a Springboks jersey," Nienaber said after a strangely flat display.
"We sincerely apologise. This was a very poor performance. This is not something we're normally used to. I thought our one-on-one defence was poor."
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Defence guru Nienaber did doff his cap to the "brilliant" Wallabies while describing it as South Africa's worst performance since a 32-19 loss to Argentina in 2018.
"We were truly beaten in each department, and beaten hands down," Nienaber said.
"We just made too many errors in every aspect of our game and we need to figure out quickly what went wrong, as things don't get any easier in the next two weeks (against the All Blacks)... this was an unheard of performance today, to be honest."
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With two games to go, unbeaten New Zealand hold a commanding 10 point lead at the top of the tournament standings with South Africa the only team that can leapfrog them.
Next Saturday will be a massive occasion in Townsville as the two great rivals play out their 100th Test.
Meanwhile, Wallabies coach Dave Rennie lauded a terrific all around performance that has to rank as the most complete of his two year tenure.
The Wallabies secured the Mandela Plate and now eye back to back Tests against struggling Argentina.
"We want to get the country behind us and you've got to give them performances to make them proud of," Rennie said.
"Hopefully, we've made a start on that. It certainly gives us belief. We've always felt the game we're trying to play is the right type of game for our group. Great to get a couple of results."
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Five-eighth Quade Cooper didn't grab the headlines this time but Rennie was content with the 33-year-old's contribution on his old stomping ground.
"He's certainly getting us around the park and I was really happy with the way he defended in the second half," Rennie said.
"We're very happy with him."
The only real negative of the night was fullback Tom Banks' broken arm which rules him out of the remainder of the Rugby Championship at the very least.
Reece Hodge, Jordan Petaia, James O'Connor and Andrew Kellaway are the contenders to replace Banks against the Pumas.
"We have a number of considerations," Rennie said.
"It's great to have 'Rabs' (O'Connor) back in the mix. He's ready to go. He's come back in fantastic nick. Again, he's another very experienced player.
"We'll make a call around that in the next few days."