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De Villiers:Springboks will need to be at their best

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Sportal.co.nz     06 Oct 2012     Getty Images

The Springboks were under no illusions, he said. The All Blacks arrived for the game as world champions, Bledisloe and Freedom Cup holders and as the winners of the inaugural Investec Rugby Championship.

"We will need to take our game to the next level," he said.

"That game against the Aussies, it was just one of those games where they suffered injury after injury. So we have to look at it in perspective: we're not suddenly a great team after winning that one game. There are a lot of improvements to be made."

However, de Villiers said the side had made progress and it was important it continued to improve.

"Unfortunately, or fortunately, in South Africa improvements are judged by the results. So we will have to get a good one to carry us through to the end of the year," he said.

New Zealand had the chance to extend their winning run to 16 Tests in the match, one short of the record they share, among the top nations, with South Africa, and two short of the overall record held by Lithuania.

"It scares the living daylights out of me thinking how far they can go," de Villiers said of the All Blacks.

"It's possible that if they beat us on Saturday they may go on to win all of their games on the end of the year tour and eventually set the record at 23 Tests or something like that."

De Villiers was confident the South African first five-eighths Johan Goosen, aged 20, would handle the pressure of the game.

"I can tell you that not a lot bothers the Goose. He just gets on with the job. And the bigger the event, the bigger the response," de Villiers said.

"He has a great head on his shoulders. He will be able to handle the pressure. But then it also has to be a case of the other 14 players taking as much of the pressure off him as we can," he said.

Goosen has had a heel problem and was replaced as goal kicker by halfback Ruan Pienaar against Australia but de Villiers said Goosen kicked for the first time in the week at training on Wednesday and it had gone well.