With 15 Test appearances, de Groot has only France, the All Blacks' opponent in the opening game of the Rugby World Cup in September, to complete his match set.
But for the moment, getting another win over the Springboks was a step in his, and the team's, progress.
De Groot said, "It was a tough Test. We started really well. I thought our set piece, although we let them in a few times was up to a good All Blacks standard."
De Groot said his objective on Saturday was for the pack to 'nail' their scrum.
"We did that at times, especially as they are notorious as good scrummagers. We did a good job in that area, and full credit to the big guys in behind us.
"We've started well in the last two games we've played. It's a line in the sand, we can nail the first 40 [minutes], but the second half is when we need to put teams under pressure.
"When you're playing Africans, it's always going to be physical. They're big boys and they carry hard, so I enjoyed it."
Having roomed with debutant and fellow prop Tamaiti Williams during the week, he was delighted to see how he performed when he substituted de Groot for the game's final quarter.
"To put a performance like that against a quality South African side is a good start [to the season]."
De Groot said one area for the team to address was how South Africa got into their rucks during the second half, and dealing with their ball carrying was what they needed to improve.
"The Africans pile into everything and I thought they did a good job of pressuring us there, so it's just those small parts of our game that we need to tidy up on."
De Groot said the side's improvement was down to getting small things right in their preparation while the coaches came up with good plans so that by the time they got to their Thursday training run, everyone was aware of what was required and there were no questions to be asked.
"I think it comes down to knowing your role," he said.