An All Blacks side operating well below capacity can virtually wrap up the Rugby Championship two rounds early with success against South Africa on Saturday.
Despite the stop-start nature of their 21-5 defeat of Argentina in Wellington, the world champions will start firm favourites to beat a disjointed Springboks in Dunedin.
Victory will make it four-from-four and increase the daylight between Steve Hansen's men and the rest, with tricky assignments in Argentina and South Africa remaining.
New Springboks coach Heyneke Meyer oversaw a 26-19 loss to Australia in Perth on Saturday to follow a 16-16 draw with Argentina.
His players face a sizeable task to overcome an All Blacks side hoping their first Test at the covered Forsyth Barr Stadium will represent a rise in standards.
The New Zealanders are becoming frustrated by an inability to gel on attack. Their twin defeats of the Wallabies and the weather-hit arm wrestle with Argentina have largely degenerated into dull, grinding affairs.
All Blacks flanker Liam Messam said realising their potential remained a motivating factor.
"I think that's the scary thing for us, that we're not playing the way that we can play," Messam told journalists.
"Once we hit that, it's going to be impressive.
"It's going to be a closed roof in Dunedin, no rain and no wind so hopefully there will be some running rugby."
Messam seems certain to start on the blindside flank after an aggressive showing off the reserve bench in Wellington.
Coach Steve Hansen said Messam's spark catapulted him ahead of Victor Vito, who was substituted soon after halftime.
"Liam's performance was pretty commanding," Hansen said.
"I'm still happy with how Victor's going... but at the moment Liam's probably got the wood over him."
Hansen was delighted with how his big men emerged on top of their battle with tough Argentina counterparts.
"In reality, the game was well and truly in control through most of that second half," Hansen said.
"We've got a forward pack we can be proud of. Certainly we can be confident that they can go to Dunedin and provide us quality ball for a pretty exciting backline."