Familiar New Zealand surroundings form a protective shell for the embattled Springboks.
After two weeks from hell, travelling home to face their hostile rugby public that is demanding immediate answers in the wake of poor recent results is not a pleasant prospect. For once, the road is the place to be.
New Zealand remains a testing cauldron for any South African side - the Boks haven't won here since 2009.
But for players such as fresh-faced Sharks playmaker Patrick Lambie, Super Rugby has broken some historical barriers as they eye Saturday night's test assignment in Dunedin.
"This is my third time here this year so you almost get used to it. The more games you play here the less daunting it gets," the 21-year-old Lambie said.
"The feeling is we've got nothing to lose. No-one is expecting much from us, it seems. We're getting written off again."
Criticism and advice is plentiful in South Africa for under-fire coach Heyneke Meyer.
His side have one more chance to gain a reprieve, against the All Blacks in Dunedin this Saturday, before returning to confront the sharpened knives.
Six games into his tenure, Meyer has overseen three victories in home comforts, over England and the Pumas, disappointing draws against both those nations, and last week's loss to the Wallabies in Perth, where the Boks' fitness and concentration issues were exposed in the last quarter.
In the eyes of their public, the lucky draw against the Pumas in Mendoza the previous week was defeat. Their efforts typified the angst being directed at the team.
Meyer's three-from-six record is not flattering. He warns that better is needed against the All Blacks.
"We still have some soft moments in our play but you only get that when you are under pressure," Meyer said. "You can't afford moments like that when you are playing New Zealand because they will punish you every single time.
"If they get a lead, and you have to chase them away from home, they will put you away by 20 to 30 points. We have to improve but it is also a mindset. We have to go in there and believe that we are going to win."
The former Bulls mentor, who took charge with overwhelming positivity, is being urged to alter the Boks' dour kick-heavy tactics and replace conservative first-five eighths Morne Steyn with rookie Cheetahs pivot Johan Goosen, who impressed with a 10-minute cameo against Australia.
However, with injuries and suspensions weakening their traditionally powerful forward pack, and Meyer's men wounded physically and mentally, radical changes to face the world champions are unlikely.
"The coaches would like to keep some continuity," Lambie said. "The spirit in the camp is pretty good. There were actually a lot of positives that came out of Saturday. That's what we'll look to build on.
"New Zealand are always strong. They are the best in the world. They are going well. It will take a lot for us to beat them."
Meyer backs his policy to promote new young talent a year after the Springboks' World Cup campaign ended in a quarter-final exit as defending champions.
"I'm very proud of the youngsters and I believe that it is the right way to go especially looking forward to the next World Cup," Meyer said.
"Eben (Etzebeth) is still 20, Marcell Coetzee has just turned 21, Patrick Lambie is still only 22 and a lot of those guys will learn.
"The only way they are going to learn is by being in this position and being under pressure week in, week out and within a year or two they will be quality test players."
- © Fairfax NZ News