The Ospreys front-rower is set to make his tournament debut when Wales kick off Pool D at Wellington Regional Stadium on Sunday.
And having arrived in New Zealand on the back of warm-up victories over England and Argentina, the Springboks challenge cannot come soon enough for Wales.
"It's exciting - I can't wait for it," said James.
"We know they are going to be physical up front - that's the way they will target the game - but we are just sorting out our own plays and hoping that if we get them right we will be fine."
James believes a solid set-piece platform, watertight discipline and improved fitness will be key to Welsh hopes.
James added: "I think the scrum got better with every game during the warm-ups. We are going in the right direction.
"If we can match them up front and get some quick ball for our backs, then we have got quality behind the scrum to hopefully do a bit of damage.
"I think our fitness levels have shown in the last few games we've played in that we can keep going until the final whistle now, whereas maybe before we would have been blowing a little bit during the second half.
"Because you are fitter, you keep going and don't take short cuts. We are not being lazy. We are working hard on being disciplined, and it's starting to pay off.
"We are fitter and stronger from when we last played South Africa, and our penalty count is better. Hopefully, in this game we can put it all together."
Defence coach Shaun Edwards, meanwhile, knows Wales must repeat the high levels of discipline which were a feature throughout the wins over England and the Pumas.
And with South African kicking machine Morne Steyn, who has amassed almost 350 points in just 29 Tests, able to punish any indiscretions, Edwards knows his side can't afford to let bad habits slip back into their performances.
"We are very conscious of discipline," said Edwards. "It's a massive priority on our list going into each game.
"We know we've had problems with discipline in the past, but we have worked very hard.
"Against England in the away game last month, we only gave four penalties away, which is an all-time low for us.
"We conceded a few more in the return fixture, but discipline is something we stress massively within the set-up."
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