Pollard, who is now playing for Leicester in England's Premiership this season, told The Rugby Paper that the All Blacks could never be written off.
"They have had their challenges, but they are world-class and what they have gone through this year will only make them stronger. They are a proud rugby nation and they will be up there in the World Cup."
Pollard missed the end of the Lipovitan-D Rugby Championship due to a leg injury but was able to get to Leicester sooner and start his leg rehabilitation. He said he should be available for South Africa's northern tour next month.
Despite South Africa being pipped by the All Blacks for the Championship title, Pollard believes they will arrive in France next year in a better position than when they were in Japan when winning the World Cup in 2019.
"There has been more continuity, and most of the squad has been around for a while.
"You always get up and downs, but I think we are in a better place now than before the last World Cup.
"We went under the radar then, and that will not happen this time," he said.
South Africa lost to the All Blacks in their opening game in Japan but became the first team to lose a match en route to taking out the title.
"It is hard to gauge where teams are, come a World Cup, because the pressure of the event makes everyone more conservative and games become more dominated by kicking.
"We looked at this year as a chance to build squad strength and we have learned a lot from the nine matches."
Before the World Cup, there is the autumn series next month.
"It is going to be a tough autumn with matches against the first and second teams in the rankings [Ireland and England], but they are the kinds of games you want to play before a World Cup to prepare yourself."