Meyer claims NZ are the best ever

Date published: October 21 2015

Springbok head coach Heyneke Meyer has described the current New Zealand team as "the best to ever play the game" ahead of their semi-final.

The bold statement comes ahead of this Saturday's meeting at Twickenham between the two teams, with both gunning for a third Rugby World Cup title.

Meyer highlighted how Steve Hansen had taken the top job after the All Blacks' 2011 World Cup win and made them a stronger side.

“I must say this – and I really mean it, it’s not just talk – but this is probably the best team that’s ever played the game," Meyer said.

“Just look at their record the last four years. Usually after the World Cup there’s a decline in performance.

"Steve (Hansen) was there for eight years as an assistant and most of the coaching staff has gone on but they just got better after the World Cup which just doesn’t happen in world rugby.

“We as a team know that this must be our best performance ever if we want to beat them because they are the best team that’s ever played the game."

Meyer also paid tribute to Schalk Burger after the 32-year-old continued his rich vein of form by winning the man of the match award in South Africa's quarter-final win over Wales.

“He’s been brilliant, probably the fittest he’s been. His work rate is immense. But by saying that, Duane (Vermeulen) is back to his best, Francois Louw is back to his best," he added.

“If you have two guys who can play close to the ground it helps but Schalk adds so much difference, especially around the block. He brings leaderships as well.

“It’s going to be an unbelievable between the loose forwards. You need characters on the team and he’s one of them.”