With New Zealand renowned for their game breakers and ability to create opportunities from nothing, De Klerk expected a testing encounter and said the match would serve as a good yardstick to measure where the team is currently.
“There’s always massive respect between the Springboks and All Blacks,” said De Klerk.
“Fortunately, we had enough depth within our squad to send some players to New Zealand early. But the guys really set the standard last week, and we have to pull up our socks to remain at that level.”
De Klerk added: “The biggest challenge for us will be the fact that they (the All Blacks) have the ability to make something out of nothing, so we cannot switch off in the game. We have to be in control and alert all the time because against New Zealand if you lose concentration, you could find yourself behind the posts.”
With the South African franchise teams now participating in the Vodacom United Rugby Championship, which is often different to the style of rugby they were exposed to in Vodacom Super Rugby against Australian and New Zealand opposition, De Klerk said the match would serve as a good test for both teams.
“We haven’t played each other much recently, and we are out of Super Rugby, so it will be an interesting measure for the teams,” said De Klerk. “They’re a world class team and if we do well against them, we’ll know we are on a good place.”
Of the challenge of lining up against highly rated New Zealand scrumhalf Aaron Smith, De Klerk said: “He’s one of the best players in the game in that jersey and he’s a role model to a lot of guys both before and during my time. He’s a good guy off the field too. It would be an honour to play against him.”
The Springboks had Thursday off to rest and recharge before Saturday’s test and will wrap up their preparations for the match with their captain’s run on Friday.