South Africa assistant coach Matt Proudfoot is relishing the prospect of facing New Zealand in their Rugby Championship clash on Saturday.
On the back of an opening triumph over Australia, the Springboks will be looking to go two from two when they take on the world champions.
That’s the sole objective for Proudfoot as he wants his side to focus on the Rugby Championship and not worry about the upcoming World Cup.
“Saturday’s match provides us with another opportunity to play the world’s best team,” Proudfoot said ahead of the meeting in Wellington.
“When you play the world’s best team in their own backyard, you need to respect that and prepare yourself for that challenge. So irrespective of what is at stake later in the year, you rock up here respecting that massive challenge.”
14 Springboks players and a few members of the team management flew to New Zealand last week already, in an effort to allow the players to acclimatise for the huge contest.
“We are preparing for the Rugby World Cup and like any other team, we split our resources last week to try and handle the travelling constraints of this year’s Rugby Championship,” said Proudfoot.
“We are planning to expose some of those players who haven’t been here, of what it takes to play the world’s best team in New Zealand, and to experience the detail and intensity that are needed for such a game.”
Regarding the significance of last year’s epic Springbok win in Wellington, Proudfoot said: “It was the first time in nine years we managed to beat New Zealand at home and first time ever at the Wespac Stadium in Wellington, so it was very significant.
“But we have been working really hard on improving as a squad towards the Rugby World Cup; we’re a happy squad and you can see with the evolution of the squad that we are moving into a new direction with our style of play. We still have a month or so before we head to Japan, and in that sense there’s a lot of work to be done.”