South Africa head coach Peter de Villiers believes the character his side showed on their unbeaten tour of the UK can lead them to a series win over the Lions next summer.
De Villiers saw the world champions record successive victories over Wales and Scotland before inflicting a record defeat on Martin Johnson’s England at Tickenham a month ago.
“I can’t fault these guys for what they’re putting in and what they’re sacrificing,” said de Villiers, who now has a personal record of five wins from five attempts against UK opposition.
“The boys keep stepping up to the plate. As long as we keep that character and that heart, the wins can keep coming.”
Despite finishing bottom of the Tri Nations table last summer, the Boks concluded their southern hemisphere campaign with a 50-point hammering of Australia, while narrow wins in Cardiff and Edinburgh were followed by a 42-6 thrashing of England in their final fixture of the year.
Although de Villiers admits his side need to improve their consistency, he is in doubt that the tools are in place to regain the Boks’ status as the world’s top team.
“Our defence is always very good. If we can get it right, I think you’ll see a pretty well-balanced side, with the attacking being pretty good and the defence outstanding.
“This is a well-drilled side. They know what their jobs are and we work hard at getting our organisational skills, especially at defence time, right.
“We have outstanding players who don’t even sit on the bench. There are a lot of guys who wouldn’t leave any other team in the lurch. Some teams would give anything to have some of these players in their starting line up. That’s how blessed we are.”