And fresh from a 2-1 series victory over the Lions and impressive wins over both Australia and New Zealand, de Villiers has angered the Wallaby and All Black camps by suggesting that the success of the Boks is having a major impact on how their Tri Nations rivals play the modern game.
"We always said when we took over this job that South African sport should be leaders and not followers any more," said de Villiers, as he prepares his side to take on Australia in Perth this Saturday.
"It took us a while from isolation to up to now to come to grips that we could be leaders.
"For other big countries in rugby like Australia and New Zealand to try to follow us now speaks volumes of the fact we can dictate the terms of how rugby can be played. We are now determining how they are playing against each other too."
Having explained how his side are now the standard bearers for world rugby, de Villiers responded to criticism that the Boks favour an unattractive kicking game by giving a no-holds-barred assessment of the recent Tri Nations clash between the All Blacks and Wallabies last weekend.
De Villiers made light of recent remarks made by coaching rivals Graham Henry and Robbie Deans by claiming that the Boks are just as entertaining, and more successful, than their Wallaby and Kiwi counterparts.
"There was more kicking in that (Bledisloe Cup) game than there were in our games against any one of them," added de Villiers.
"At this moment we don't kick more, we kick more back.
"I think in Super 14 we showed you guys how we can adapt to that and now with the laws changed back again we've shown how we adapted back to that.
"The law changes called for us to adapt and our adaptation, at this moment, is spot on and I am proud of how the team has adapted. We didn't invent this game and we didn't write the laws.
"Entertainment is one of the boxes we want to tick off, but it doesn't mean it is the first one. Our obligation is first to the South Africans, and then the rest of the world."