That is the opinion of Springbok assistant coach Matt Proudfoot, who addressed media with Malcolm Marx at the team hotel in Wellington on Tuesday afternoon.
Saturday’s massive clash at the Westpac Stadium starts at 09h35 (SA time) and will be televised live on SuperSport 1.
On the importance of the match in the context of a World Cup year, Proudfoot said that while the Boks are building towards Japan, it is important for the team to perform successfully in the Castle Lager Rugby Championship, in order to gain momentum for later in the season.
The Springboks opened their season with a bonus-point victory over Australia in Johannesburg. They face the All Blacks on Saturday and Argentina two weeks later in Salta in their remaining games of the shortened Castle Lager Rugby Championship.
“Saturday's match provides us with another opportunity to play the world’s best team,” Proudfoot said on Tuesday.
“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.”
Fourteen 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," he said.
Marx said the Boks have a clear plan for the game against the Kiwis.
“We knew a while ago that there were going to be a certain number of guys who would come over before the Australian Test,” said Marx.
“We knew what our plan was coming here. The players who travelled early to Wellington watched together how well the guys played in the Australians, which we then analysed.
“All of us know that we're a team and no-one can lay claim to a certain position - the jersey is literally for anybody. The guys have worked hard for the last three to four weeks that we've been preparing, and I'm glad the guys got the result they did because I think it brings a bit of confidence to the squad,” added Marx.