Outside centre Lukhanyo Am says the Springboks will step things up a level when the world champions and All Blacks cross paths in back-to-back home Tests in the Rugby Championship.
The arch-rivals will kick off the southern-hemisphere showpiece in Nelspruit on 6 August, with another clash at Ellis Park to follow a week later.
New Zealand will travel to the Republic on the back of an unprecedented series defeat by Ireland and having sacked assistant coaches John Plumtree and Brad Moaar.
The Boks are preparing to renew hostilities with the old enemy buoyed by a 2-1 series victory over Wales on home soil during which the world champs looked to still be shrugging off the rust.
Am, who played in the first and third Tests against Wales, spoke highly of the All Blacks at a Bok media conference on Wednesday, adding that South Africa must still expect an epic battle against the Kiwis.
He said: “The All Blacks are one of teams that will always require us to be on our A game. We are preparing as well as we can for the upcoming Tests and our training camp has been going well.
“They will pose a different threat to Wales, but we are excited about facing them and we are looking forward to the Rugby Championship.”
On the Boks’ preparations for the All Blacks challenge, coach Jacques Nienaber added: “Our goal is to improve as a team and get better at what we want to do.
“When we faced Wales, we hadn’t played together as a team for a while, so that served as a marker for where we are.
“We obviously want to control things in our game and fix a few areas. We had a review of the Wales series and did a reality check on Monday on where we need to improve.
“New Zealand will pose a different challenge to Wales,” he added. “Their skill set is based around a lot of continuity and moving the ball around, but they also don’t shy away from the set pieces.
“New Zealand will be desperate. They are under pressure just as we are, but we can only control our desperation and things from our side, so our focus is on our game.”
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