Any benefit in Bok kamikaze?
Kamikaze pilots made the ultimate sacrifice for their country by flying aircraft loaded with explosives into enemy warships, suffering for the greater good.
The historic defeat to Japan Saturday can be seen in a similar light as despite how much it hurts, it could have a positive impact on the Springboks' overall World Cup campaign.
It is often said that you learn more in defeat than victory, and the Boks were certainly taught a few lessons as Japan managed to expose their weaknesses on defence and attack.
They now face a struggle to get out of their pool, and will be forced to take a critical look at every aspect of their game in the coming weeks which they would not have done if they had cruised past Japan as expected.
There are concerns that Meyer's team can become complacent, with defeats very often following good performances such as when they lost to Ireland in Dublin last year after beating the All Blacks in Johannesburg.
That will definitely not be an issue in this World Cup, with the defeat to Japan hanging around their necks no matter how far they get in the tournament.
One of the most concerning things about their performance was that two tries they scored that did not come from driving mauls were gifts from basic missed tackles which will not be something that will happen in the play-offs.
As worrying as it was that the Boks could not manage to look threatening on attack against Japan, the way their defensive frailties were shown up was perhaps even worse.
No team that misses that many tackles can realistically expect to compete for the title, so they will need to take a hard look at that area and make some changes.
They will feel they have something to prove following a defeat that has rocked the rugby world and there will have to be a big reaction in the rest of the pool games.
There is now the very real possibility that they will not top the pool, which changes their prospects for the play-offs if they do manage to get there.
This might come as a massive jolt to the squad, but they can still make the quarterfinals with three convincing wins, and may get to that stage in better shape than if they had cruised through without being tested.
The Springboks have never had their back so firmly against the wall, and with so many players having come back from injury against Japan they can no longer build up to the quarterfinal, they need to take a big step up in their next game against Samoa.
They are in unchartered territory but tough as it is there is still time for them to react, and the way they do will define their campaign.
By Michael de Vries