The man charged with leading the world champions to victory over the Lions next month has claimed that black South Africans are at a significant disadvantage when it comes to succeeding in the sport.
"There are still too many coaches who are not prepared to give black players a fair opportunity," said De Villiers, whose Springbok side take on Ian McGeechan's Lions on June 20, 27 and July 4.
"As with black coaches, black rugby players have to work 10 times as hard before they are given a chance to show what they are worth."
De Villiers believes the only way for South African rugby to move forward is to break down stereotypes surrounding skin colour and ensure every single South African is given an equal chance to progress through the ranks and into the Springbok side.
"It is my job to identify talent and to believe in it.
"Players must have enough faith in their abilities and not be afraid to express themselves on a rugby field.
"If a coach is one-dimensional in his thinking, he will never be successful."