Greig Laidlaw believes Scotland are chapping on the door of the world’s rugby elite after pushing South Africa close at Murrayfield.
The Scotland captain was left to curse missed opportunities as the Dark Blues were edged out 26-20.
But he saw enough in a brave display against a Springboks side which shot down the All Blacks only two months ago to convince him his side are not far away from claiming they sit alongside the best teams on the planet.
Asked where the result leaves Scotland, the Clermont Auvergne scrum-half replied: “I honestly believe we are right up there. (Head coach) Gregor (Townsend) spoke in the changing room after the game that he feels South Africa are really up there in terms of the top two or three teams in the world.
“We showed that we are right in these games, on another day we can win so we are going in the right direction.
“We are disappointed we have lost but we need to put that to the side and bounce back next week and give a strong performance against Argentina.”
Jesse Kriel crashed over for the opening try just six minutes in, but the Dark Blues soon responded when two audacious bits of skill from Huw Jones teed-up Peter Horne.
The visitors were back in front within seconds, though, as Handre Pollard danced home for their second but a clever line-out move put Hamish Watson over as Scotland refused to be bullied.
The second half was a quieter affair and that suited the visitors, who held on for victory largely thanks to the 13 points Pollard contributed with his boot.
Despite the win for South Africa, one serious talking point was Siya Kolisi's headbutt on a grounded opponent.
In the 30th minute, Kolisi and Scotland's Horne were on the ground, and to get his opponent off him, the South Africa decided to headbutt him.
It was a controversial moment that wasn't really discussed in the immediate aftermath of the match, but World Rugby have decided that no action will be taken against the Springbok.
According to World Rugby's citing policy, the Citing Commissioner has 24 hours after the final whistle to make a decision on any possible incidents.
Nothing has since come out about the headbutt, meaning they are clearly taking no action against Kolisi.