Victory in the 2009 Tri Nations - a campaign that featured a hat-trick of wins over the All Blacks - left no one in doubt that the Boks were the world's best.
Fast forward to July 2010 and the Boks are facing more criticism than praise.
A disappointing end-of-year tour to Europe has been followed by an unconvincing June schedule and a humiliating 32-12 thrashing by the All Blacks in the opening Tri Nations fixture of the year.
The Boks shipped four tries and never looked like scoring one of their own in defeat in Auckland.
But while the South African press have been quick to voice their concerns over Saturday's performance and even the team's head coach admits that things have hit rock bottom, Peter de Villiers insists his side can turn things around.
"There is no panic. We know we were poor and it can't get worse," said De Villiers.
"It was not a train smash. It was the first game of the tournament and we weren't the best team on the field. There is nothing that happened that we cannot fix.
"These things happen and it had nothing to do with our preparation. We just did not play well.
"The All Blacks made their own luck and got it. Well done to them, they did very well."
"We can still determine our success in the rest of the tournament and it's still in our hands. We know what to fix."