The All Blacks always talk up the Springboks‚ or any opposition for that matter for one simple reason‚ they know every team is just that little bit more switched on when facing the world champions.
The Springboks are next up for the All Blacks when the sides meet in a Rugby Championship clash in Wellington on Saturday‚ and nothing points to a South African victory.
The All Blacks have just about secured the Championship at the halfway point. A win over the Boks would confirm it.
They also haven’t lost to the Springboks at home since 2009 and won their last home meeting 57-0 in Albany in 2017.
The Boks are simply not in the same league as the All Blacks at the moment.
But All Black assistant coach Ian Foster is wary of believing all the hype‚ preferring to expect the worst.
The Boks 2-1 series win over England in June has caught New Zealand’s attention more than their two defeats in the Championship so far.
“Our mindset when preparing for a game is preparing to meet an opposition who will play at their best‚” Foster said.
“That’s how we have to prepare‚ so we don’t go out looking for a lot of chinks because we saw them (SA) beat a very good England team in June.
“We know they can play and they have shown some good stuff in the Rugby Championship‚ so we know they’re going to be hungry‚ that’s a given.
“We have to prepare to play a team who is going to turn up and have their best game of the year.
"So we have to get our mindset and our detail right‚ which gives us a chance of playing our best game too.”
Foster expressed mild surprise that Bok coach Rassie Erasmus has spoken openly about the possibility of being fired if the contest against the All Blacks unravels completely.
The wily New Zealander wasn’t buying it though‚ preferring to see it as a motivational tactic by Erasmus‚ albeit an unusual one.
"Everyone - every coach‚ every management team - is trying to find the right way to approach a week and clearly it's an approach they feel probably gets their boys in the right state of mind that the South African team needs to be in‚" Foster said.
"What we do know is I've never had an easy game against them.
"It's never been anything but a hundred per cent physical and brutal and I can't see any difference based on what we've heard."