Allister Coetzee says the Springboks' 37-14 win against France at Loftus on Saturday is 'a step in the right direction'.
The Boks ended a four-match losing streak with a comfortable victory against a French side that was missing several players involved in last Sunday's Top 14 final.
'We certainly did take a step in the right direction today,' said Coetzee. 'This was the first of 13 Test matches for the season and at least we started with a positive performance and for that I am pretty pleased.
'We have closed the chapter on 2016 and this year we need to keep improving as a team. I have selected the best available team out there for this series, so it is pleasing that we won. We have the belief and ability in the team, but [the victory] was a baby step.
'Nothing is perfect, neither was our game,' he added. 'We have a team environment that is growing and taking shape, you could see in the last five minutes how the guys defended. We know the French played without a number of their stars, yet they had us under pressure at times, but we never stopped working for each other.
'What we learned from the northern hemisphere teams is that you cannot stop working hard. We created a number of opportunities and that is always pleasing. We may not have created enough width yet on attack, but that will come. A lot of hard work at the camps is paying off. We have some time on our side.'
Coetzee said the replacements created a big impact off the bench.
'They came on to the field and did the job. They guys are pushing each other and my job selecting a team will not become easier.'
Bok captain Warren Whiteley was also pleased with the win, and their defence in particular.
'Our cover defence was good, but we will have to keep our feet on the ground. We had some pressure before the Test, and we know the remaining two matches will not be easy. There will always be mistakes, but we worked hard for each other to rectify that.'
Photo: Anne Laing/HM Images