All Blacks key hurdle for Springboks

Getty Images

    13 Aug 2018     Getty Images

Achieving success would be a high hurdle, however, the South Africa Sunday Times said because all the teams, except New Zealand were better than last year but that wasn't to say the All Blacks wouldn't still dictate terms.

"What Erasmus has going for him, however, is a currency his predecessors had in short supply. There is a feel-good factor about the Boks that has not existed since they won the 2007 Rugby World Cup," it said.

Since taking on the role, Erasmus had made astute choices.

"Erasmus helped engineer some of the positive sentiment by declaring an unbridled commitment to transformation, and acted upon it decisively by installing Siya Kolisi as the Springboks' first black captain," it said.

While being prepared to make key calls, even if that meant losing some Tests, Erasmus said he wanted to put players under pressure.

"If we don't put them in these situations we'll never know if we can win the World Cup. We don't want to trust just 14 players going to the World Cup, we need a squad of 31," Erasmus said.

His challenge in the Championship would be tougher than facing Wales and England in the June Tests.

"In the Rugby Championship, Australia and Argentina are expected to be more formidable than they were last year.

"Australia, it has been argued, had the better of New Zealand in five of the six halves of rugby they played last season. The All Blacks smashed them in the first half of the first Test, but the Wallabies looked a competent and at times audacious side thereafter," it said.

Former Springbok wing Odwa Ndungane said South Africa needed to adhere to basics while also believing they could win, especially in New Zealand.

"If you look at the New Zealand teams, a lot of the guys get groomed in and there aren't wholesale changes, which is the case with our rugby.

"We don't have smooth continuity and that makes a massive difference. Individuals need to step up because when you play against the top teams, you can't have guys off their game. Everyone has to be on board, buy into the plans, stick to the basics and fulfil their roles," he said.

Looking at key match-ups during the Championship that between first five-eighths Handre Pollard and Beauden Barrett was top of the Sunday Times' bill.

"Both these proven world-class flyhalves have had their credentials questioned because their Super Rugby teams didn't deliver in 2018…The last time the Boks beat the All Blacks, Pollard was a precocious 20-year-old with the world at his feet. He has improved since then and if the Bok pack can put him on the front foot, Pollard has the weapons to steer the team to victory.

"Barrett is still the most dangerous player in world rugby. His ability to accelerate through a gap, land a pinpoint cross-field kick, or throw a perfect pass make him a nightmare to defend against. When the two come face to face, it will be one for rugby lovers everywhere," it said.