Springbok captain Adriaan Strauss says they are a work in progress but stressed the importance of Saturday's Test against Australia.
Strauss, who announced his retirement from international rugby last week, has been open and frank about the state of South African rugby, who many people feel are on a slippery slope to mediocrity.
"We are a team that's growing. We are not yet playing the kind of rugby we want to," Strauss said at his pre-match press conference on Friday.
"We know where we're going but we also know there are many shortcomings in our game at the moment. Everything is a process, but we realise the need to speed up the process."
The players have been putting in individual training sessions all week in an attempt to improve on the technical aspects of the game.
"We are really putting in the hard work on and off the field," Strauss said. "We are growing. We realise Saturday's Test is a big one. We will be equal to the task and are prepared to the best of our ability."
Strauss believes they will have to improve their defence if they want any chance of being successful against the Wallabies.
"If there are opportunities (to score) we'll have to take those as well. We haven't really been able to build any scoreboard pressure so far this year. We were playing catch up in most Tests so far so we have to use our chances.
"A lot is at stake in this Test but that is always the case before any Test."
With this being Strauss' last Test in Australia, he had the privilege to hand out the player's jerseys on Friday.
"It was a big honour, especially when I consider the legends of the game who I had previously reeived my jersey from. My message to the players was that we needed to win back that belief in ourselves.
"There are quality individuals in the team. It's a good team. I have a lot of hope for the future. I told the players that I believe 100% in their ability and the processes we use going forward. The Test against the Wallabies is a nice challenge for us."