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Current All Blacks 'probably the best team to ever play the game' -- Springbok boss Meyer

‘To beat the number one side in the world you have to be better than your best,’ says Bryan Habana.

Image: AP/Press Association Images

IT SEEMS A long time ago that South Africa were well and truly humbled at this World Cup, but the loss to Japan on the opening weekend still means that they’re unlikely to get ahead of themselves any time soon.

Of course, they were always going to be underdogs against New Zealand, but the Springboks’ simplistic yet brutal approach combined with the All Black masterclass against France has allowed them to really talk up their opponents in Saturday’s World Cup semi-final.

“I must say this, and I really mean it, it’s not just talk,” says head coach Heyneke Meyer on the subject of the reigning world champions and number one-ranked team.

“But this is probably the best team that’s ever played the game. Just look at their record the last four years. Usually after the World Cup there’s a decline in performance.

“Steve (Hansen) was there for eight years as an assistant and most of the coaching staff has gone on, but they just got better after the World Cup which just doesn’t happen in world rugby.”

“We as a team know that this must be our best performance ever if we want to beat them because they are the best team that’s ever played the game.”

The charm offensive is not limited to Meyer, winger Bryan Habana followed up his Tweet of congratulations to Julian Savea with the assertion that the ‘Boks must lift their game ’10-12 notches’ from the bruising encounter with Wales in London.

“The performance they put in last Saturday was really special against the French,” says Habana.

To beat the number one side in the world you have to be better than your best in every facet of play.

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“Your discipline has to be unbelievably good. Your defence has to be as sound as it ever has been before. Your physicality and intensity has to go 10 notches up. You know you are in for a massive 85-90 minute game.

“We are looking forward to the challenge. We understand the threat they pose and our big that threat is. Hopefully we can go out there on Saturday and get the win we have been having over the last four weeks leading into what is going to be an epic semi-final against one of our great rivals.”

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Sean Farrell

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