Despite not being picked to feature against Wales, Scotland and South Africa over the next three weeks, James has no intention of missing out when the Lions tour his homeland for the first time in 12 years.
"That's a huge goal for me, to make the Lions tour," said James, who made his international debut in 2001 and currently has 32 caps to his name.
"It's something I'm really working towards and playing for. Anyone would love to play against the Lions."
James has already stated his intention to retire from international rugby before the start of the 2009/10 Guinness Premiership season and the former Natal Shark knows that a series against the Lions would be the perfect way to bow out.
"Everyone wants to play for their country and I'm no exception. There is the same massive excitement on match day and huge pride when I pull on the jersey. The desire is the same.
"Obviously, I can't carry on playing the whole year through but I'm still wanting to play for the Springboks. I'll probably finish internationally after that Lions tour.
"It's the ultimate (a series against the Lions), like playing against the All Blacks. You don't often see a Lions tour. They toured South Africa in 1997 and I went to the Durban game. Growing up, you want to play the All Blacks and the Lions."
Bath's Butch James still loves pulling on a Springbok shirt
Having moved to the UK following the triumphant conclusion of the 2007 Rugby World Cup, James has now played close to 18 months of continuous rugby. Although the 29-year-old is making no complaints, he admits that a break from the game right now is likely to see him in the best possible shape if he does earn the right to take on the Lions next summer.
"It has been tough but I'm only just starting to feel it now because we've been playing some tough games in the last few weeks," said James, who was rested from his club's recent EDF Energy Cup matches against Leicester, Sale and Cardiff Blues.
"I'm starting to feel it now but I do have a little bit of break. I've not really spoken to Peter de Villiers about it but I've spoken a little bit to Steve (Meehan). That's why they've given me a few-weeks break now of doing nothing now. That will recharge the battery and I'm looking forward to it."
James was an impressive figure during South Africa's World Cup win
The Springboks take on Wales at the Millennium Stadium this Saturday and, although James will not be in the South African line up, he believes his countryman face a tough challenge from the Six Nations champions. James started both the summer Tests against Warren Gatland's men and he feels the Boks will have to be at their best if they are to start their UK tour with a win.
"I expect them to be a really different team from the one we played in June. They'll be much better and, playing at home, they're going to be really competitive and a tough one to crack.
"Even back in June, they had some great players and we saw some awesome individual tries. They were still tough then. The guys were nice and bruised after both encounters so it's not going to be easy."