Cape Town - Legendary former scrumhalf Fourie du Preez says a lot of work lies ahead if the Springboks are to reclaim their former glory.
The Boks have experienced mixed results in 2017 - they beat France 3-0 in a home series before finishing third in the Rugby Championship.
The South Africans beat Argentina twice, drew twice with Australia, while losing both Tests against the All Blacks - 57-0 in Albany and 25-24 in Cape Town.
"They started off very well," Du Preez said in an interview with Omnisport when asked about South Africa's 2017 Rugby Championship campaign.
"(The) game against New Zealand (in Albany) was very bad. It's been up and down. Hopefully they can take some positives out of earlier games, face some realities, some harsh realities..."
The 35-year-old Du Preez played 76 Tests for the Springboks between 2004 and 2015.
During his tenure, the Boks won the 2007 World Cup in France, the 2004 and 2009 Tri-Nations, as well beating the British and Irish Lions in a series in 2009.
Regarding his former team's efforts in 2017, Du Preez continued: "There was definitely some pride restored but there's a lot more work (to do). It's a process. Hopefully they can go through the process and in a year or two's time we can get back on top."
The Boks, who are currently ranked fifth on the official World Rugby rankings, face fourth-ranked Ireland in Dublin on Saturday (November 11) to start their European tour.
They will also play Tests against France (Paris, November 18), Italy (Padova, November 25) and Wales (Cardiff, December 2).