They will bring their best game, because they want to win and prove a point
World Cup champions New Zealand will start as favourites, but you underestimate newcomers Argentina at your own peril.
This is the view of new South African coach Heyneke Meyer ahead of the inaugural Rugby Championship, which will see the Pumas join the SANZAR powerhouses - the Springboks, All Backs and Wallabies - in one of the most demanding international competitions.
"I think they should be the favourites," Meyer said, when asked about the Kiwis' status as the top-ranked team in the world.
"They [the Chiefs] have won the Super Rugby competition, they are the World Cup champions and they have a lot of depth ... especially their backs.
"They are a quality side," he said of the All Blacks, but then turned to his own team: "What is important for us is to improve every single game."
The Boks get their campaign underway when they host Argentina at Newlands in the opening round next Saturday and Meyer said the Pumas will not be cannon fodder or simply make up the numbers.
"We can't look past Argentina - those two games will be very, very tough," he said of the Boks' encounters with the Pumas on August 18 (Cape Town) and August 25 (in Mendoza).
"In the past they didn't have many professional players," the Bok mentor said, adding: "Now their players play throughout the world.
"They have quality players and they are all very fit.
"They will bring their best game, because they want to win and prove a point.
"They also showed [the drawn series] against France, at home [in June], what a quality side they are.
"You will make a huge mistake if you just concentrate on New Zealand. I have a lot of respect for Argentina, that first Test will be very tough."
Meyer felt that the second Test, in Mendoza, can be a decider for South Africa in terms of their Championship campaign.
"You need to win every single game if you want to be the champions," he said of his team's desire to start with back-to-back wins.
"Although New Zealand and Australia are great sides, Argentina is a huge obstacle as well.
"We are now just focussed on them."
Asked if he felt it is an advantage that the Boks play the first two Tests against the same team, Meyer said the opposition doesn't matter, it is about the mindset.
"You have to play three teams away and three teams at home," he said, adding: "What is not helping is that we haven't yet had a chance to prepare properly for a full week.
"I had hoped that [last week] we could do that, but the Sharks only arrived [in camp] on Monday and only started training on Wednesday. We will have to adjust our planning somewhat."
The Bok coach said you simply have to win all your home games and at least two away games.
"They [Argentina] do bring a different permutation of travel and that will require a big adjustment for all the teams.
"Nobody has had to do that before, so it will level the playing field - it will be very exciting and interesting."
By Jan de Koning