Somewhere in Cape Town yesterday, Allister Coetzee probably slapped himself silly all day in the hope that he would wake up from a terrible nightmare.
But it was no dream and the harsh reality of losing his first Test in charge of the Springboks 26-20 to 14-man Ireland would have been a bitter pill to swallow.
The stage was set for a superb introduction of the “new” Springboks.
Coetzee ticked all the boxes with his team announcement, coached his first international match at Newlands and had the whole country behind the team in the hopes that they would run riot.
To help them even more, the rugby gods then ensured that CJ Stander, South African-born Ireland flanker, would not come back to haunt his countrymen when he was shown a straight red card for a challenge on Pat Lambie that left the Bok flyhalf out cold.
Even then the Boks failed to deliver.
By then they were already a try down when a rolling maul helped Ireland set up Jared Payne for the opening try.
Elton Jantjies came on to call the shots and produced a moment of magic to put Lwazi Mvovo into the gap.
Mvovo failed to use the space out wide as the Boks looked to make their numerical advantage count, but cutting in was not the right move with two men outside him.
Paddy Jackson pulled the Irish back into the game by half time with the score 13-13 at the break.
While they had a number of opportunities, they simply failed to convert them into points. Fullback Willie le Roux was one of the sondebokke, running dead the space out wide and failing to straighten the line.
Centre Damian de Allende, too, is not the best option at No.12 in the country and continued to fail to show why he is so highly rated.
Just after the break, Conor Murry touched down to make it 20-13.
And Jackson kept them out in front, until Pieter-Steph du Toit’s late intercept try gave the Boks a late sniff.
But the home team made too many unforced errors and failed to get the awe-inspiring moments, despite enjoying the bulk of the possession as JP Pietersen wasted a match-winning chance in the corner at the death.
After this opening defeat, the honeymoon period is now over for Coetzee and the knives are out.
It’s time for the Boks, and indeed the nation, to understand that this is Test level and not Super Rugby.
Chances are more difficult to take and the Boks need to bring back their physicality factor.
They simply can’t allow a team like Ireland to bully them like this.