Wales coach Warren Gatland is currently the best in the world, according to his South Africa opposite number Peter de Villiers.
De Villiers, the first-ever black coach of the Springboks, takes charge of South Africa for the first time against Wales in Bloemfontein on Saturday.
The reigning world champions will go into the Test match as the hot favourites to continue their winning streak but De Villiers, who succeeded Jake White in the Bok hot-seat is taking nothing for granted.
Springbok fans, still on a high after South Africa lifted the Webb Ellis Cup for a second time last October, are notoriously unforgiving when the team fails to deliver the goods and De Villiers is well aware that it is imperative South Africa start their 2008 campaign in winning fashion
However, the new coach remains in a cautious frame of mind.
"Wales will be a good team," he said. "They did not win the Six Nations by watching the game. They know what they are doing. And in Warren Gatland they have the best coach in world rugby at present.
"Therefore, we have great respect for them. We’ll go out to do out best."
Both teams will be without star performers due to injuries with the Boks particularly hard hit due to the unavailability of flanker Schalk Burger, scrum-half Fourie Du Preez and centre Jaque Fourie.
However, De Villiers still has the nucleus of the World Cup-winning squad available to him and although he will only name his team on Thursday, he has already confirmed that hooker John Smit will captain the team and in so doing will become the first man to lead the Boks on 50 occasions.
The Wales squad is shorn of players of the calibre of hooker Huw Bennett, flanker Martyn Williams, number eight Alix Popham, scrum-halves Dwayne Peel and Mike Phillips, plus centre Gavin Henson and full-back Lee Byrne.
But De Villiers is still expecting a stern test for his team.
"We may even see a stronger team,” he warned. “People tend to look at names, and they forget that all those names started somewhere.
"The excitement and enthusiasm that new players bring to the team could spell danger to the Springboks."