As South Africans we have to realise that the Springboks are still some distance behind the All Blacks in world rugby, said Springboks coach Allister Coetzee.
While the national team’s mentor found big positives from their 23-23 draw against the Wallabies last weekend, he cautioned that the challenge of facing the All Blacks this weekend in Albany would be massive.
“New Zealand is the benchmark,” Coetzee said in Auckland upon their arrival.
“This contest is an exciting opportunity for our young team to measure ourselves against the best rugby team.
“We have showed a lot of improvement up to now and last weekend in Perth was another opportunity for the side to gain experience. However, we are now facing a team who don’t seem to have any weaknesses.
“They have great leadership and world-class players, while Beauden Barrett is their catalyst. The patience and discipline of the All Blacks are some of their key strengths, so for us it will be a great occasion to measure ourselves.”
Coetzee used the world rankings, where the Kiwis have held on to the No 1 ranking for the past eight years as an example, while the Boks have climbed to third after being down to seventh at the start of the international season.
“Just look at the points difference on the world rankings then you will see there’s a massive gap there between us and them, I think there’s a 8, 9, 10 (percentage) points difference,” said Coetzee.
The All Blacks have won the last four matches against the Boks including a record 57-15 thrashing in Durban last year.
But the Bok coach said they have made big strides this year and would look to continue their progress against the best team in the world.
“It’s going to be a big challenge for us and a massive opportunity and to really gauge ourselves to compete against this All Black side this year,” he said.
Coetzee names his line-up on Thursday and will reveal who will take over the No 3 jersey from Coenie Oosthuizen who has returned home with a broken arm.