Although South Africa have lost their last two matches in the Rugby Championship, New Zealand will not underestimate them when the sides face off this weekend.
That was the word from two of the All Blacks’ most experienced players, blindside flanker Jerome Kaino and lock Sam Whitelock, ahead of Saturday’s clash in Christchurch.
“Confidence or complacency definitely doesn’t fit into our thinking,” Kaino told Stuff.
Although the All Blacks have not analysed the Springboks’ 23-17 loss to the Wallabies in Brisbane yet, Kaino feels that match is practically irrelevant.
“We don’t really focus too much on the results and what they’ve been through,” he added.
“We know every time the Springboks play the All Blacks it’s always been tight.”
The 72-test veteran expects the Springboks to have learnt a lot from reviewing New Zealand’s 57-22 victory over Argentina in Hamilton though and expects a similar onslaught from South Africa.
“We know the Argies put us under a lot of pressure and South Africa would have put that under a microscope and they’ll try and put that into practice at the weekend,” said Kaino.
“They put us under a lot of pressure through our heart with their offloads. I’m sure they’ll [South Africa] have a little bit of that in their game at the weekend.”
An initial review on Monday pinpointed the need to be more combative at the breakdown, while a forwards meeting later will focus on improving the lineout’s efficiency after a couple of deliveries went awry at Waikato Stadium.
“I think attitude and physicality is at the top of the list,” said Kaino, of the attributes needed to counter the Springboks.
The Boks suffered a setback when first-choice lock Lood de Jager was sidelined with a knee injury sustained in Brisbane. He has been replaced in the squad by abrasive back-row Willem Alberts.
Whitelock believes the Boks will still deliver a good showinbg despite De Jager’s absence.
“You can take out a number of players and the new guys are going to step up,” he said.
“If you look right across not only their forward pack but their whole team there’s game breakers right across their whole squad.”