Cape Town - Former national coach Stuart Lancaster says England's three-Test series in South Africa will be a “tough tour”.
Lancaster was the England coach when they last visited South Africa in 2012, a series the Springboks won 2-0, with the final Test in Port Elizabeth ending in a draw.
Since then, the Boks have fallen from grace and after two torrid seasons, currently find themselves seventh in the official World Rugby rankings.
However, Lancaster believes the Boks will much improved under new coach Rassie Erasmus.
Lancaster also paid specific attention to Erasmus' defence guru Jacques Nienaber, who he believes could be a secret weapon in the Boks' armoury.
“Rassie Erasmus, who I’ve coached against at Munster, will do a great job in galvanising the South Africans. And the person people haven’t talked about much is Jacques Nienaber, who was the defence coach at Munster. He’s a very good defence coach. If you get those South Africans organised defensively, irrespective of their attack, then it’s a tough series,” Lancaster was quoted as saying by The Guardian.
England are also under pressure after a torrid Six Nations campaign which saw them finish fifth after losing their last three matches.
However Lancaster, who currently coaches at European and PRO14 champions Leinster, said not “too much” should be read into England’s Six Nations campaign.
“It came down to small margins in the end,” he added.
He nevertheless warned his countrymen that the series would not be easy.
“I watched South Africa play here in November and Ireland beat them 38-3. What has changed is that Rassie will bring back some players from overseas. If you put the best SA team together it’s a formidable team, and then you layer on their sense of pride in the shirt.”