The man who led the Springboks to victory over the Lions two years ago has claimed the All Blacks won’t win the World Cup with their current style of play.
South Africa head coach Peter de Villiers told reporters that World Cup favourites New Zealand play the wrong type of rugby to succeed in a tournament environment.
The All Blacks may be Tri Nations Champions and the globe’s number one ranked team but De Villiers doesn’t envisage them lifting the game’s greatest prize in Auckland this October.
"I really don’t think that at the moment the New Zealanders are playing the type of rugby that will win them a World Cup," said De Villiers.
"Tournament rugby is about playing week in and week out with the pressure of knowing that if someone works you out then you are out of the competition. The World Cup is not about entertaining. It is about playing a certain type of rugby.
"I may be wrong and, for rugby’s sake, I hope I am because rugby needs New Zealand to do well, but I have my doubts about their ability to win it playing like they are."
De Villiers also did his best to try and convince the wider world that in-form All Black centre Sonny Bill Williams may not be all he’s cracked up to be.
The former rugby league star has been sensational in this year’s Super 15 but de Villiers remains unconvinced as to whether Williams will cut it on the biggest stage of all.
"It is when opposition teams work you out that a player’s true character is tested and comes to the fore so we are still going to see what Sonny Bill is made of," added de Villiers.
"We already saw in the Crusaders match against the Chiefs what the impact of big hits can have on his effectiveness. There were four big hits put in on him and he lost the ball four times in the tackle. Suddenly he didn’t look quite as good.
"It is going to be interesting to see how he goes against the Springbok centres Jean de Villiers and Jaque Fourie (when the Crusaders play the Stormers on May 7).
"Is he going to be so good when those guys cut his space down? Will it be the same game for him? I think a lot of people are looking forward to that game."
De Villers was speaking as he named a 51-man squad for a team planning session ahead of the international season.
The squad features seven uncapped players, three of whom will be enjoying their first involvement in the Springbok set up.
Wing Lionel Mapoe, scrum-half Sarel Pretorius and back row Duane Vermeulen are the squad debutants, while fly-half Elton Jantjies, scrum-half Charl McLeod and props Coenie Oosthuizen and Werner Kruger are yet to appear in a Test match for their country.
All 51 players will attend two days of meetings and logistical discussions in Cape Town in May in what will be the first of three national camps as the Boks prepare to defend their World Cup crown four months later.
Overseas-based stars such as Ruan Pienaar, Frans Steyn, Butch James and Joe van Niekerk have not been included in the squad.
"Our first Tri Nations Test kicks off only two weeks after the Super Rugby final," continued de Villiers.
"I wanted to make sure that we can get straight to work on the field with some quality preparation when we get together and not be compromised by players familiarising themselves with our structures or understanding logistical issues.
"By the end of this series of camps I hope that any of the players we call on will be familiar with our on and off the field systems and the logistical boxes have all been ticked.
"These sessions are not about selection now – they're about being ready when we make the final selections."