Boks need to back themselves if they want to beat the All Blacks

Springbok coach Allister Coetzee EPA/NIC BOTHMA

The All Blacks never seem to panic. No situation ever seems to faze them and they always back themselves and their talent to win Test matches.

The New Zealand rugby team is not without flaws, as they were exposed when they lost to Ireland last year, while the British & Irish Lions showed they aren't invincible. Australia came within securing a restart of beating them two Saturdays ago, while Argentina had a sniff this past Saturday.

But the All Blacks have this unbelievable confidence in their ability to pull it through, even when they aren't at their best. This sets them apart from other rugby nations.

For the All Blacks, winning rugby Tests in 2017 is certainly not as easy as it has been over the last couple of years, but they still have that belief that everything is going to be all right. And most times it is all right ...

The Springboks went through such spells in 1998 and 2009 when they were almost unstoppable. That Bok team of 1998 came from behind to beat the All Blacks in Durban -- their second victory over their fierce rivals that year -- while the Peter de Villiers team was triumphant over New Zealand in three matches in 2009 en route to a stellar year.

Those Bok teams had the same swagger and ruthless attitude as the present All Black team. This is what Allister Coetzee's men need to rediscover if they want to be a dominant force again.

After an encouraging start to the year, which included three wins over the French and two against Argentina, the Boks stood before their biggest challenge of 2017 when they came up against Australia in Perth last Saturday.

The most heartening aspect of the Boks' play in those previous five Test matches was how their attack was starting to evolve -- the swift counter-attacking, the offloading in the tackle and the support play. It's not quite where it should be yet, but, most importantly, the intent to play and embrace that sort of attacking game was great to see.

Perth was going to be the big test, though, the venue where the supporters of the green and gold would be able to gauge where their team is in terms of the salvage operation which started in May following a disastrous 2016.

But in the first half the South Africans were exposed to be like last year's hesitant bunch, looking devoid of any creativity and bravery.

The Boks kicked away most of their possession, most times aimlessly so. With every kick they invited the Australians to have a go at them with ball in hand. And, if the Wallabies took their chances better, the match could have been over by halftime. If it had been the All Blacks, it would have been.

But the Springboks didn't freeze in Perth because they came up against better opposition than what they previously faced. No, it was actually because of the light shower that fell over the Western Australian city an hour or so before kickoff.

"We had to adapt our tactics because of the rain a couple of minutes before the start of the game. We had to adapt our style of play and I'm pleased with that," Coetzee said after the match.

The rain, though, wasn't strong enough to have such a massive influence on the conditions that the Boks couldn't keep hold of the ball, just like they did in their previous Test matches when they managed to score 35 or points in five Tests against France and Argentina.

Fear of failure again got the better of the Springboks, because when they started chasing the game in the second half they looked dangerous and should have actually sneaked the win. They looked like the 2017 model again.

Test matches aren't delivered on a silver platter. Just playing to minimise your mistakes doesn't win you matches. You have to back yourself to go there and take it.

The Springboks have improved a lot over the last nine months after a humiliating 2016, and Coetzee and his men need to be commended for the turnaround. But if they want to reach a level where they compete with the All Blacks -- and Australia for that matter -- on an equal footing, then they must back themselves and their ability.

If something small like a spot of rain is going to deter them from playing their attacking brand of rugby, then they might as well give up now.