The Springboks should still be competitive under the guidance of their newly appointed head coach Allister Coetzee in the Test arena.
That was the word from All Blacks boss Steve Hansen, who said he rates Coetzee's ability as a coach and feels he deserves to be in charge of the two-time World Cup winners.
"I rated the last bloke (Heyneke Meyer) too, but it's a very tough environment that they're operating in over there," he told New Zealand's Radio Sport.
"That environment hasn't changed, so it'll be just as tough for (Coetzee).
"He's a good coach… he deserves to be there."
Coetzee’s biggest challenge will be to transform the Springbok team so that they will be able to field a team that is 50 percent black at the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan.
Hansen said being the head coach of any national team means politics will always be part of the job, but he feels the situation in South Africa is unique.
"What is different for him is that they've got a quota system and sometimes I think that means they're not picking the best players they can," he added.
"It makes it tough, but that's the way it is in that country and you go in knowing that. I'm sure he'll deal with that really well.
"South Africa have always been strong and I don't see it being any different."
Hansen said New Zealanders find it difficult to understand South Africa's quota system but he respected that it was part of the country's way of righting the wrongs of its apartheid past.
"It's hard for us to wrap our heads around but we didn't live in that country and it's history," he explained.
"That history is still playing itself out and it's not for us to bag (criticise) them."
He feels, however, that anything other than merit-based selection risked undermining a team's performance and confidence.
"At the end of the day, one thing I do know is that your sporting teams have got to be selected on merit because if they're not people start questioning whether they should or shouldn't be in the team," said Hansen.
"What that does is it affects your confidence and the golden rule is that if you've got a team that's confident, they'll play well, no matter who they are."