The Boks edged that encounter 17-16 in September 2011 but Wales did themselves proud in Wellington as they began their surge towards a semi-final spot.
Priestland started the tournament opener having only just established himself as first-choice following Stephen Jones' injury in the lead up to the first August friendly with England.
And while Wales were on the wrong end of the scoreline in their last set to with South Africa, Priestland still looks back on that fixture with fond memories.
"When people ask you what your proudest moment in rugby is, I say lining up for the anthems for that game because I was realising all the hard work I'd put in that summer," said Priestland, who expects an equally tight battle this time around.
"I was new into the squad then and I realised that people back home were getting up early to watch the game, so I have really fond memories of that match.
"I missed a drop goal at the end to win it - but I sort of knew Australia were going to beat Ireland and we'd play them in the quarter-finals!
"South Africa are a really physical team and, having watched some of the Rugby Championship, (you can see why) everyone speaks about how physical they are.
"It's going to be a big test for our squad, but we have some physical boys as well so it should be quite a brutal encounter."
If Priestland beats Dan Biggar, Rhys Patchell and James Hook to the No10 shirt this weekend it will cap a remarkable turn-around in fortunes for the 26-year-old after injury threatened to derail his promising international career not long after it had started.
A ruptured Achilles tendon prevented Priestland from playing any part in last season's RBS 6 Nations Championship winning campaign before a further setback followed on his long-awaited return in early May.
What should have been a cause for celebration when he headed to Belfast for the Scarlets' RaboDirect PRO12 semi-final showdown with Ulster quickly turned into another nightmare when he was stroke down in the warm-up.
Priestland admits he questioned whether he would ever come back after that miserable night in Northern Ireland but he insists he's now as positive as he ever has been about what lies ahead.
"That was the toughest thing for me: when it happened a second time, there were doubts about whether I would come back," added Priestland.
"Lee Thomas, who was at Wasps, ruptured his Achilles a week before me. He was unfortunate because he slipped in the bath a few weeks later and had to retire from the game.
"I had that in the back of my mind. I knew he was having real difficulties and I thought, is there a real weakness there and is this the end?
"You soon forget about it, though, and I tried to enjoy my summer. I just had to be extra careful and that's why I took my time. I didn't do any rehab for six weeks and gave it time to heal. I've come back refreshed and look forward to going to training every day."
It's a marked contrast to this time last year when, although he was fit enough to play before the Achilles injury, Priestland was carrying a number of knocks and therefore wasn't at his best.
Wales lost each of their Dove Men Series Tests in a disappointing autumn showing in 2012, with Priestland featuring in all four internationals.
It wasn't an easy time for the Llangathen-born playmaker but autumn 2013 is already feeling very different.
"I can't compare the feeling between this year and last. The reason I play rugby is because I enjoy playing the game - last year, the enjoyment had gone for me because of the way I was feeling. My body was in bits, I didn't enjoy turning up for work and it was a real drag getting through games. Now it's completely different.
"It's nice to get out of bed in the morning and my body feels quite normal: I don't have to strap both knees, shoulders and elbows.
"I don't worry about things, my body is healthy and I just go out there and try to concentrate on enjoying the game and expresssing myself on the field."