Cape Town - The Springbok/All Black rivalry is in all probability the fiercest in world rugby.
Meetings between the sides over the years - and certainly ever since the 1995 World Cup final - have been as brutal as they have been intriguing.
That rivalry will be renewed on Saturday when the sides meet in the 2015 World Cup semi-final at Twickenham, but according to Springbok assistant coach John McFarland there has been a clear mutual respect between the sides throughout the Heyneke Meyer era.
"There’s a great rivalry between the two nations. There has
been for the last four years," McFarland said.
"We’re actually quite friendly with them. We’ve
had supper with them quite a lot over the period of time and they’ve come to us
and we’ve come to them."
McFarland was naturally impressed by the All Blacks' 62-13 win over France in the quarter-finals.
"It was a great performance from them. To score nine tries
in a quarter-final is brilliant. They just buried the French really right from
the start," he said.
"It’s up to us not to give them any turnover ball, it’s up
to us to stop their carriers on the gain line and it’s up to us to be at our
McFarland anticipated a tight battle on Saturday.
"The last three games we’ve had with them have all come down
to one score and one moment, so it’s up to us to produce that on Saturday as
well," he said.
"The margins are very fine at this level between us and
Kick-off is at 17:00.