Heyneke Meyer has called on South Africa to produce their "best performance ever" to beat New Zealand in the Rugby World Cup semi-finals.
Heyneke Meyer has called on South Africa to produce their "best performance ever" to beat a New Zealand team he feels is the greatest to have played the game.
The Springboks face the All Blacks for a place in the Rugby World Cup final at Twickenham on Saturday, with the two teams having experienced hugely contrasting routes to the last four.
After losing to Japan in their opening Pool B game, South Africa recovered to finish in first place but were made to work hard to see off Wales 23-19 in the quarter-finals.
Meanwhile, defending champions New Zealand eased through the pool stage and then produced an astonishing nine-try performance in a 62-13 demolition of France in the last eight.
South Africa did beat New Zealand 27-25 last October, but Meyer is under no illusions as to the scale of the challenge of defeating a side he believes has only improved since winning the World Cup four years ago.
"I must say this " and I really mean it, it's not just talk " but this is probably the best team that's ever played the game," Meyer said.
"Just look at their record the last four years. Usually after the World Cup there's a decline in performance.
"[Head coach] 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."