"The South African's still have a bit to prove but, at the moment, I think it's a pretty open series," said Slattery, who played in all four internationals when the 1974 Lions beat the Springboks 3-1 in a remarkable Test series.
"It's pivotal that Ian McGeechan picks players with pace and stamina to play in South Africa - there is no place for carthorses."
As he now works for Sky Sports Rugby, Wallace is guaranteed a place on the plane to South Africa, albeit in a non-playing capacity.
The 37-year-old Irishman will no doubt be hoping he is able to watch the kind of exciting, winning rugby that he and his team-mates produced back in 1997.
"I'm really looking forward to going down to South Africa this summer and seeing how the Lions get on," added Wallace, who started all three Tests the last time the Lions visited the republic 12 years ago.
"Ian McGeechan's been so successful on his tours. He's got so much experience and he knows what works and what doesn't work.
"I think he's got a good set of coaches - Shaun Edwards will fit very well into the Jim Telfer mould!"
HSBC are staging a number of Lions Legends Dinners in the lead up to this summer's tour, with the likes of Willie-John McBride and Mike Teague having already made appearances so far in 2009.
Next up are David Duckham, McBride and Richard Hill who will be discussing their Lions memories over lunch at Birmingham's Hilton Metropole on Friday, March 13.
To read more from Paul Wallace and Fergus Slattery from Thursday's HSBC event, check out www.lionsrugby.com on Friday and Saturday of this week.