SOWETO, South Africa - South Africa coach Heyneke Meyer is a realist rather than a romantic and that is set to show when they confront New Zealand in a Rugby Championship final round fixture at Soccer City on Saturday (Sunday Fiji time).
The Springboks handled the ball far more in a five-try 31-8 demolition of Australia in Pretoria last weekend than in the three previous rounds of the southern hemisphere national team competition.
Gone were the generally over-hit field kicks that gave even the South African hares no chance of getting to the dropping ball before a rival, and contributed to a lucky draw in Argentina and avoidable losses in Australia and New Zealand.
But Meyer, who succeeded outspoken Peter de Villiers this year on a four-year contract with the aim of reclaiming the Rugby World Cup in 2015, believes a run-at-all-cost approach against the All Blacks would be suicidal.
"The key to victory will be striking a balance between running and kicking," he told reporters ahead the showdown between the two best teams in the world.
"There is always pressure on home teams to run a lot with the ball and that is exactly what the All Blacks like. If you give them turnovers, they will punish you."
"Naturally, we want to play great rugby and score tries, but we must find a balance between when to attack and when to play tactically," stressed Meyer.
"You are never going to defeat New Zealand by playing their game. They have quality athletes from No.15 to No.1 and, fortunately, we also have some good game-breakers now."
After two victories, a draw and two losses, Meyer accepts the New Zealand Test will define his Rugby Championship campaign.