Wallabies coach Robbie Deans has ignored rugby's rankings and 2008 results to rank South Africa, not the All Blacks, as the best team in the world.
In an assessment which may shock and dismay many of his former countrymen, Deans says the Springboks deserved to be rated number one due to their humiliating thrashings of England and Australia.
New Zealand sit on top of the International Rugby Board's world rankings after winning last year's Tri-Nations and going through their end-of-season tour unbeaten.
Reigning World Cup champions South Africa are number two, with the Wallabies jumping two spots from fifth to third under Deans in 2008.
The All Blacks held a 2-1 advantage over the Springboks in last year's Tri-Nations but Deans says South Africa's latter-year form showed they were back to their powerful best.
Peter De Villiers' men ended the Tri-Nations on a high by delivering a record 53-8 thumping of Australia in Johannesburg before whipping England 42-6 at Twickenham.
Deans rated the Hurricanes, Durban-based Sharks, NSW Waratahs and his old team, the defending champion Crusaders, as the teams he most expected to excel in the Super 14, which kicks off next week.