South Africa coach Heyneke Meyer praised Wales' performance following their 31-30 defeat in Nelspruit.
The Boks coach said Wales put them under pressure and his team needed to show great character to respond.
Wales lost in the final moments when referee Steve Walsh awarded a penalty try following Liam Williams' shoulder-charge on Cornal Hendricks.
Meyer said: "All credit to Wales, we don't want to make excuses... they played awesomely well."
Wales were 30-24 ahead when Williams illegally tackled Hendricks as he was heading for the try line.
Morne Steyn hit the conversion from in front of the posts to deprive Wales of a first Test win on South African soil.
"Wales were great today. I truly believe they started well, put us under pressure and it brought out character of this team," said Meyer.
"We never panicked - even at half-time, even at the end - we always believed that we could still pull it through. Obviously you need some luck but we still scored four tries and at the end I'll take a win.
"They [Wales] are a quality side, they have got great defence. It's Test match rugby, you just have to grind some through, take the win and move on."