Johannesburg - New Zealand captain Richie McCaw will play for potentially the last time in what he considers the "ultimate" challenge of a Rugby Championship test against South Africa at Ellis Park on Saturday.
McCaw has hinted he will retire after this year's World Cup, making this probably his last appearance in South Africa -- though not necessarily his final cap against the Springboks with the teams on a collision course for the semi-finals in England.
"I haven't thought too much about it, I'm focused on the coming game and want to win. If this is to be my last game (in South Africa), I want the lasting memory to be one of a win," McCaw told reporters on Friday.
There is much to gain from a victory on Saturday. It will keep the side on track to win this year's shortened Rugby Championship, provide a psychological blow ahead of the World Cup and give McCaw the satisfaction of victory at a venue he considers the hardest to play at.
"We've been coming here (to Johannesburg) for the past four years and whether it's been at Soccer City or Ellis Park we have considered these games against the Springboks to be the toughest," McCaw said.
"It's always the most physical, the most intense match. It's the game you want to be a part of and Ellis Park in particular is the ultimate place to play at. We know we have to take it up a level when we come here."
McCaw says the game will provide an excellent test of character for his side, including debutants Lima Sopoaga and James Broadhurst, who start at flyhalf and lock.
"When it's toughest, that's when the best players stand up. It may come down to one moment, and so you keep going, you stay in the game for that moment," McCaw said.
"It can mean the difference between winning and losing. That's also the way you as a captain can inspire those around you."
New Zealand are hoping to avoid back-to-back defeats at Ellis Park after losing 25-27 last year.