Cape Town - Whether or not the Springboks win the Rugby Championship next weekend, coach Heyneke Meyer believes they are on track to achieve their long-term goal of becoming the No 1 team - and winning the World Cup again.
For now, Meyer is happy to acknowledge that New Zealand are worthy holders of both crowns, but he said of Saturday's showdown with the champions at Ellis Park in Johannesburg that it would be a chance for the Springboks to measure themselves against the best.
Meyer said he was proud of the Springboks' 28-8 win over Australia at Newlands on Saturday, although the team's failure to score a fourth, bonus-point try might have made it more difficult to win the title because a win alone against the All Blacks may not be enough.
Captain Jean de Villiers admitted at the post-match presentation that he was disappointed not to have secured a bonus point, but he took a more positive line at a press conference later.
"We're happy with where we're at," said De Villiers.
"We've won four out of five games (in the Championship) and we have progressed so much. We created opportunities, but we made some mistakes. We beat Australia by 20 points and we are still in the competition."
De Villiers said he expected a massive contest against the All Blacks.
"Next week is a whole new ball game. We will be playing against the number one team in the world. All the tickets have been sold and and we will have the whole of South Africa behind us. We want to test ourselves against the best."
Asked whether he saw the game as a chance for revenge after a controversial defeat in Auckland, when Springbok hooker Bismarck du Plessis was sent off the field, Meyer said: "There is no talk of revenge.
"We have the utmost respect for the All Blacks. Things happened at Auckland that were out of our control. We don't play on emotion. We want to be the best team in the world and to win the World Cup."
The Springboks scored two tries against Australia inside 15 minutes but could only add one more as the Wallabies came back into a game marred by two yellow cards against both teams.
"Discipline is important and the yellow cards did spoil our rhythm," admitted Meyer.
It was another disappointing result for new Wallabies coach Ewen McKenzie, whose charges have lost at home and away to both the Springboks and the All Blacks.
"We played without the ball for the first quarter of the game," said McKenzie. "In the first 30 minutes the Springboks only made eight tackles."
He said the Australians had improved as the game progressed, but admitted that the team's struggles were frustrating.
"We need to control things that are letting us down consistently. We're way off the mark at the moment."
McKenzie said he could not fault the attitude and commitment of the players.
"They're trying hard and putting the effort in. We've made progress but it doesn't show on the scoreboard."
Captain James Horwill urged the Australian public to back the team.
"We urge them to stick with us," he said. "Every time we pull on the gold jersey we believe we can win. We're as disappointed as them when we don't get the results, but the wheel will turn."