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Springboks assistant coach hails Fourie du Preez

Johan van Graan says Du Pree has a special talent and has an upper hand in reading the game better.

Fourie du Preez.  Picture: AFP

LONDON - Springbok assistant coach Johan van Graan has hailed captain Fourie du Preez as one of the greats of the game and says their chances of success against the All Blacks in the Rugby World Cup semi-final today, largely rest with him.

The two teams meet in one of the biggest games of all-time between the two countries and South Africa's biggest game since the world cup final in 2007, at Twickenham at 5pm.

The forecast in London today is set to be cold, with a high chance of rain.

Du Preez has played against the All Blacks 12 times, being on the winning side in 12 and Van Graan says that record doesn't matter today.

"Comment on the test that he has played against them, I've watched most of them and he has always had pretty big games against them but I don't how he's going to play tomorrow, I think he's going to be great."

Van Graan says that Du Preez is a special talent.

"He's awesome in every rugby game that he plays. I think his composure under pressure, he believes in himself, and the ability to see things that others don't see is a talent nobody else can hid but at the same time nobody else can see."

At the same time, loose forward Schalk Burger said that there's a real belief in the Springbok camp that they can beat the All Blacks.

Much of the theme in the build-up to the game has been about the invincibility of the All Blacks and whether teams fear playing them.

The last three games between the two countries have been very tight affairs, with points differences of 4, 2 and 7.

Burger said they take heart from knowing this.

"I think Richard McCaw has won more Test matches than I have. It's pretty hard to compete against guys who never seem to lose. Again, I think they are a great side, but within our team there's a quiet belief that we have put them under pressure in the past."

On Wednesday, Heyneke Meyer called this All Blacks team the best to ever play the game and Burger agrees.

Julian Savea has been one of the stars of the tournament so far, and Burger hopes his team mates take care of him long before he has to.

"Julian never runs at me; that would be mildly terrifying, to say the least. Hopefully Jacob Peterson can keep him quiet."

He said they know what's key to beating the All Blacks.

"They put you under pressure more than any team in the world. The times that we have beaten them, it starts with our defence, trying to not let them get tempo on the ball, trying to slow down their ball, but then create a lot of opportunities against them."

Visit the Eyewitness News special Rugby World Cup 2015 portal.

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