New Zealand will take on their biggest challenge in two years when they face South Africa in Auckland on Saturday.
That is the word from All Blacks outside centre Conrad Smith who believes the clash against the Springboks will bring out the best in the world champions.
"These games can be [crucial] particularly when one team takes a lot away from it," he told Sportal
You can build real momentum towards a World Cup that's a few years away.
"We're certainly viewing it as the biggest challenge since the World Cup so we're prepared for a big game and I know they will be as well."
Ma'a Nonu is expected to re-join Smith in midfield to face Springboks captain Jean de Villiers and newcomer JJ Englebrecht, a player who has made huge strides this season.
"We always respect whoever we're playing but it didn't take much to look at that Springbok performance last week, and in the weeks previous, to know they're playing some pretty good footy," said Smith.
"And if we're not on the mark then we're going to come second.
"That strikes a bit of fear and hopefully it brings out the best in us."
The Boks ran in four tries in their historic victory over the Wallabies in Brisbane last weekend and Smith expects a tough battle at Eden Park even though their opponents have not won their since 1937.
"When they're really playing expansively and chancing their arm a bit that we know we're in for a real battle," added Smith.
"You know you're always going to get physicality with the Springboks but when they're really well with the ball in hand they pose a real threat."