Graham Henry is talking up the Springboks ahead of the Tri-Nations opener in Wellington.
The All Blacks are coming off the back of a comfortable two-Test series win against England, but Henry said the Boks would be twice as good as the men in white.
“We expected England to be better than they were. Our reconnaissance, our research, said that they were going to be a very strong side, and a lot of people that knew them well thought they would give us a hell of a big game,” said Henry. “So if England had come into the Test series a seven out of 10, they probably ended up a five out of 10. The South Africans will be a 10 out of 10.”
While the Boks have not won in New Zealand for a decade, and the All Blacks have not lost a home Test since 2003, Henry was eager to claim the underdog tag.
“[The Springboks] are a very talented rugby team, they are world champions and hopefully we can give them a game,” he said. “They have been playing very well, they have got old heads there who can drive the ship, they have been impressive really.
“We have total respect for the Springboks, their new coach will bring new ideas, they’ll try different things. It’ll make it interesting won’t it? I’m sure they’ll pick a strong side. They are very experienced and the best side in the world obviously.”