Boks versus All Blacks - what are the odds?
The Springboks are on a high after thumping the Wallabies in Brisbane.
CAPE TOWN - Mid-way through the 2013 Rugby Championship and the Springboks are sitting at the top of the table with one more away game to come. However, home or away is always fifty-fifty when the opposition is the All Blacks or the Wallabies.
The Springboks' performance in the competition is a marked improvement on their 2012 campaign when they managed only one win, a draw and a loss by the halfway mark.
This year Heyneke Meyer's charges are flying high after securing their biggest ever win margin over Australia in their first victory in Brisbane since 1971. The performance was a huge boost to the team after their very indifferent display against Argentina in Mendoza a fortnight before.
The win was also their ninth successive victory, five of which were away games.
It's early days yet and there are still two encounters to come against New Zealand, as well as a return leg against a Wallabies side that will no doubt be seeking revenge.
But in many respects, the Springboks' 2013 Rugby Championship campaign has already surpassed the previous year.
They've scored the most tries of all the teams in the competition (14), more than they scored in their entire campaign last year (12).
The team has also conceded the least tries. Morne Steyn is the leading point scorer on 63 and quite comfortably ahead of his nearest rival, Christian Lealiifano who is on 46.
A year ago, Steyn managed just 34 points throughout the competition. The Springboks have a healthy point differential of 91 and they've secured two 'four try' bonus points.
So how are the Springboks likely to fare against the All Blacks?
The Springboks last secured an away win against the New Zealand in September 2009. The final score in that game in Hamilton was 32 - 29. Before that, they beat the All Blacks 30 - 28 in Dunedin in July 2008.
Since 2009, the Boks have played in New Zealand on four occasions and they've come up short each time. Sadly, they've also managed just one home win out of three in the same period.
On Saturday morning the Boks take to the field at Eden Park in Auckland. Their last visit to this ground in 2010 ended in a 20 point defeat. This time around they have their tails up after a fantastic performance against Australia from which all of the players emerged unscathed - in fact, Coach Heyneke Meyer has announced an unchanged match 23 from the game in Brisbane.
The Boks acquitted themselves very well in the set pieces against the Wallabies, kept the penalties in the "strike zone" to a minimum and dominated the breakdown. If they can continue in this vein, I'd say it's game on.