Springbok head coach Peter de Villiers has played down the Lions’ chances of a series victory against his Springboks this summer.
De Villiers, who took over from World Cup winning coach Jake White in January 2008, has publicly stated that the Lions will return home defeated if the Boks play to their ability.
The former South Africa Under-21 coach believes the international and domestic game in Europe has its strong points but that the overall standard is far lower than in South Africa, Australia and New Zealand.
As a result, de Villiers is supremely confident of avenging the 1997 defeat to the Lions in June and July of this year.
"The speed of the game and the intensity (in the northern hemisphere) we all agree is high,” said de Villiers, who led South Africa to wins over Wales, Scotland and England in November.
”We have more skilful players in the southern hemisphere.
”We played into their hands (in 1997) by playing too much structured rugby, and if we play to our full potential, we will be too strong for them."
The Lions play three Tests against the Boks, starting in Durban on June 20, when Ian McGeechan and co will be looking to make de Villiers reassess his opinions of the British and Irish game.