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Boks not dwelling on past glories

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Sportal.co.nz     15 Sep 2012     Getty Images

De Villiers is one of only two survivors, the other is wing Bryan Habana, from the starting lineup who broke their Dunedin duck when they beat the All Blacks 30-28 at Carisbrook in 2008.

Frans Steyn, Ruan Pienaar and Andries Bekker came off the bench but the radically changed side for this weekend emphasises the turnover of South African players in recent years.

"This is a totally new team," de Villers said. "It is a totally different game in a new stadium. We've got our own goals and we need to make our own memories now."

De Villiers, 31, who has 78 caps and has taken over the captaincy from John Smit, acknowledged the pressure was on.

"It's a great privilege to captain your country but it's not an easy job. There will be tough times. We need to pull together and believe in the systems we have put in place. If we can put a good 80 minutes together, you never know.

"We wouldn't be here if we didn't believe we could put up a show. I would be home with my daughter, who is nine months old today.

"We believe we can be competitive and, if we can turn the negatives in positives, I think we can get a good result.

"We've obviously got a game plan we believe in and we'll probably stick to that but, if it allows us to throw the ball around and there is space out wide, we'll definitely try to use it.

"It was a positive that we created opportunities against Australia but you don't get too many in tests and you need to capitalise on them. We didn't really do that in our last two tests. That's where experience comes in and we're lacking a little bit in that."

De Villiers emphasised his support for first five-eighth Morne Steyn, whose reliance on kicking many believe has stymied the development of the Springboks' backline.

"The pressure never really drops from him. It's always there. He takes it all in his stride. I think he is definitely in a good space. He's a great player and he has the backing of the team and the coach."

De Villiers said the All Blacks had set the benchmark in international rugby in recent years.

"They've been the top side for a long time now. They've showed they can adapt to difficult situations, as they did when their fly-halves were injured in the World Cup last year. They've been winning well and they're probably not even firing on all cylinders."

De Villiers believed Aaron Cruden could step into the boots left vacant by the injury to Dan Carter.

"Dan has been the standout No 10 for a number of years. But there will always be injuries and I don't think one guy makes such a massive difference. Aaron Cruden has showed what a special player he is as well He's showed he can step up and it's a great opportunity for him."

De Villiers was one of six Stormers who played at Forsyth Barr Stadium when the Stormers beat the Highlanders earlier this year.

"It's a great stadium. It's fantastic to know you'll get good conditions every time you play here. We had success when we played there with the Stormers and hopefully we can repeat that. Growing up as a youngster and playing in the backyard, it was always a dream to play in a test in New Zealand against the All Blacks and this is a great opportunity for us."