Springbok assistant coach Dick Muir said on Wednesday that Friday’s clash with Samoa would be the ideal preparation for the quarterfinals – should the Boks grab at least the point they need from the match to go into the last eight.
Muir was speaking to reporters at the team’s Taupo base before they moved back to Auckland for the sellout match at the North Harbour Stadium.
"We were quite excited about the look of our pool when it came out,” said Muir. “We wanted tough, physical games in the lead-up to the play-offs.
"We came into the competition a little underdone and we’ve used the (pool) games to prepare ourselves for the play-offs.
"At the moment there's only one side that's definitely through to the play-offs and that's the All Blacks. For us it's still knockout. If we don't get the result then we don't make it.
"It's a really important game for us so I'd imagine you can see it as a knockout game."
Muir said that the management and players had taken note of Samoa’s rom and potential and viewed as a serious threat. He said their new, more structured style had served them well and that it’d be a mistake to move away from it now.
"I think they'd be foolish to change now,” he said. “They've obviously been together for a long time as a team and you've seen the progress. They're a side that are really playing good rugby and they've got a lot more structure to their game."
Samoa’s left wing – 121kg Alesana Tuilagi – has set the tournament alight and is seen as the biggest threat to the Boks.
Muri said the team had factored his threat into their planning.
"We haven't got a sniper!” he said. “He's a guy who I brought over to try and play for the Sharks. He was so big he wouldn’t fit into one of the playing jerseys and we had to play him in a supporters’ jersey!
“He's shown his class all over the world and he seems to be getting better and better. We need to keep him at bay. We have got a plan."