Meyer, who spent six months as Leicester boss in 2008, admits he used to view England teams as soft but his preconceptions were changed by a spell with the Tigers.
“Lewis Moody and Martin Corry and those guys are probably the toughest guys I have coached. My whole perception changed. It’ll be a bruising encounter,” said Meyer, who has named an unchanged side.
England have not beaten the Springboks in their previous 10 Tests, a run going back to 2006.
“The last three Tests [in the summer] were really physical and that was at the end of their season. Now they’re fresh and we need to toughen up and put our bodies on the line,” he added. “I have a lot of respect for their scrummaging power. Dan Cole is close to being the best tighthead in the world.”
The 45-year-old is concerned his squad are struggling mentally after a long campaign. “I need one more great performance out of them,” he said. “They always lift themselves for England but I am worried.”