With former captain John Smit and vice-captain Victor Matfield having retired, and Heynecke Meyer having replaced Peter de Villiers as coach, the Springboks will enter a new era when they play their first test of the year against England in Durban on 9 June.
Meyer expressed his excitement about the forthcoming international season as a national planning camp concluded in Durban on Monday, saying the excitement among players and management was palpable as the first test drew nearer.
"We managed to get through a heap of very hard work in a very short space of time," Meyer told the press.
"The players' attitude at this camp was yet again wonderful, and even though many of them came in straight from tough tours and hard Vodacom Super Rugby encounters, they really showed to me how important playing for the Springboks is to them.
"Yet again, we are very grateful to the players as well as their franchises for helping us in this regard.
"The work we've done at the four planning camps has given us a solid base to work from and we'll hit the ground running when we return to Durban on Sunday to prepare for the first test."
A total of 41 players attended the final camp, with MTN Lions fullback Jaco Taute a late withdrawal after he sustained shoulder injury in his team's match against the Force in Perth last weekend.
A widely held belief among journalists is that former Bulls' scrumhalf Fourie du Preez, who is currently with Japanese club Suntory Sungoliath, will be offered the captaincy of the Springboks for the three-test series against the English.
Questioned about the scrumhalf, who played under Meyer when the Bok coach was in charge at the Bulls, Meyer said Du Preez understands how he wants the game to be played and lauded Du Preez's tactical kicking ability.
Stormers' skipper Juan de Villiers is regarded as another option as captain, but potential leaders, Schalk Burger and Juan Smith, have been sidelined for some time because of injuries.
Interestingly, Meyer confirmed that scrumhalf Ruan Pienaar, after an outstanding season for Ulster in which he was nominated for the European Rugby Player of the Year award, will be part of the squad to face England.
The potential for injury ahead of the first test against the English exists with two typically physical South African Super Rugby derbies scheduled for the weekend.
Meyer said: "We'll be watching the final round of Vodacom Super Rugby action this weekend with interest. The derbies in Johannesburg and Pretoria will be huge and we're expecting nothing but their best from the players, but when we return to Durban on Sunday, it will be as Springboks and we’ll be ready for the challenge posed by England."
After Meyer and his coaching staff watched England's 57-26 victory over the Barbarians on Sunday, he said he was expecting a very tough series.
'Massive respect for England'
"We have massive respect for England and they will be tough opponents, but we will be ready for them and will work very hard on getting in place how we want to play against them," he commented.
"Their two top clubs played in a final on Saturday and weren't in action against the Barbarians, which is an indication of their depth.
"Stuart Lancaster is a good coach and he has put together a squad of players that will be keen to impress. I know a number of their players well from my time coaching in England [with Leicester] and we realise it will be a hard series."
The Springbok squad will be announced after Super Rugby clash between the Vodacom Bulls and the DHL Stormers at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria on Saturday evening.
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