Brodie Retallick and Malcolm Marx both maintain Saturday's Rugby Championship Test between the All Blacks and South Africa in Wellington is more than just a World Cup precursor.
The tactical cat and mouse that comes with most lead-in Tests to the showpiece tournament in Japan won't apply on Saturday at Westpac Stadium as the two heavyweights get set to field teams at close to full strength.
Hanging over the contest is last year's result at the same venue which the Springboks won 36-34.
Retallick says there's no way he could forget that result, one of just four losses he has experienced in his 76 tests in an All Blacks jersey.
He noted both teams had rested a number of first-choice players from last week's Rugby Championship opening Tests, with both of those groups based in New Zealand to prepare specifically.
"I think it's going to be a fiery one, yeah," Retallick said.
"The way that the All Blacks have approached it ... and South Africa sent some of their boys straight here - there will be some fresh bodies so no doubt there's going to be plenty of energy.
"They won last time here in Wellington and obviously we want to be winning every time so I guess it will be a big one. We'll have to wait and see."
Marx recalled how last year's result injected self-belief after losses on the road to Argentina and Australia.
They went on to enjoy a strong 2018, including a near sweep of New Zealand in the rematch in South Africa, and are shaping as a serious player at the World Cup.
Marx said the Springboks won't take any sort of inferiority complex into this weekend.
"I wouldn't say we're underdogs, we're focusing on ourselves and where we can improve, not on them," he said.
"(Last year's win) was important for South African rugby to be honest.
"The momentum we built after that was really important, we almost got the win in Pretoria ... it built a lot more confidence in South African rugby."