Boks excited by All Blacks challenge

Bagshot - Far from being daunted by the prospect of facing a rampant New Zealand side, South Africa are excited at the challenge awaiting them in the Rugby World Cup semi-final at Twickenham on Saturday.

The world champion All Blacks demolished France 62-13 in their quarter-final in Cardiff, sounding a warning to their rivals that after a slow start to the tournament they are hitting top gear.

The Springboks watched part of the game after returning to their hotel following their tense 23-19 win over Wales.

"We managed to watch snippets of it, it was a great performance from their side," flanker Francois Louw told reporters on Sunday.

"They were always going to be a strong outfit going into this tournament so for us it is not a concern in the sense that to be the best, you have to beat the best.

"Our paths have crossed a lot in the past, it's a bit of a derby really, and we are expecting a tough game."

New Zealand possess a backline full of talented game-breakers as well as powerful forwards.

"They are a solid pack, they have a great back row, guys with a bit of everything and they compliment each other well," Louw said.

"Their second-row pairing is always solid with a high work rate and their front three do an effective job in their areas.

"They are not a pack to be taken lightly, we can expect a tough challenge up front, especially at set-piece time, but that's what makes it exciting, those challenges."

Louw expects New Zealand to be as fired up as the Boks will be.

"It is always nice to play the All Blacks, it's always a nice occasion and especially so now in the World Cup," he said.

"I can imagine they are just as excited about it as we are. There will be a lot of nerves with so much riding on that game, but then also that personal rivalry between the sides which will just add a little extra."

South Africa have two new injury concerns following the Wales match.

Hooker Bismark du Plessis has a gash on his hand after being trodden on by Louw, while lock Lood de Jager has injured a tendon in his foot.

A decision on their fitness, along with that of lock Victor Matfield, will be made later in the week.

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