Cape Town - Bulls coach John Mitchell is backing the Springboks to beat England in what he thinks will be a 'brutal' Test series.
The first of three matches takes place at Ellis Park on Saturday, followed by Tests in Bloemfontein and then Cape Town.
Mitchell, a former All Blacks coach, believes the altitude factor in Johannesburg and Bloemfontein will play a major role.
England coach Eddie Jones has, somewhat surprisingly, opted to be based in Durban throughout the course of the series with plans in place to fly to each of the three venues a day before the match.
It is a strategy that Mitchell thinks will help England, but he still sees altitude being a potential series decider.
"The altitude will have an effect on the England players and there is game fatigue," Mitchell was quoted as saying on Rugby Pass.
"However, England’s training will be helped by being at sea level rather than having to have shorter sessions in Johannesburg and Bloemfontein. It will be a brutal series and it will be about seeing who is prepared to stay in the fight."
Mitchell is expecting the Springboks to be significantly better than they were in their 22-20 loss to Wales this past weekend.
"The Boks will create better structure and decision making having had that game against Wales, but they won’t stray away from pressure rugby. The way the game is being played suits he Boks and they will get better as this series progresses," he said.
"This is going to be a good series between two very good coaches and while England have the experience, it will come down to who is the more confident and tactically astute.
"The breakdown could be a problem again for England and it depends on what defensive system the Boks employ and how many they put into the breakdown. That was a crack that appeared in the England team in the Six Nations and there will be some strategy around that in this series.
"I think the Springboks have the ability to win the series and I say that because two of the Tests are at altitude. If all three were at sea level the I would have a different view because there is an altitude factor here."
Kick-off on Saturday is at 17:05.