It's interesting that the Springboks are barely ankle deep in a shallow pool of what appears to be mild national angst after suffering three defeats in their first eight tests since being crowned world champions.
Such a return by the All Blacks would have constituted an existential crisis, calls for a national review and the obligatory flooding of social media sites with chapter and verse commentary linking the defeats with the unravelling of the social, political and economic fabric of the nation.
There are a few things that spring to mind to explain why the Boks losing their No 1 status hasn't brought out the pitchforks and burning effigies.
South Africa, frankly, has bigger things to worry about. Real things that actually matter – such as the unravelling of the social, political and economic fabric of the nation.
This is precisely the theme that former Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus tapped into at the 2019 World Cup after they lost their opening pool game to the All Blacks.
He reminded the players that they had endured far greater and real adversity growing up in a country where murder rates remain terrifyingly high, poverty biting and survival the number one priority on millions of daily to-do lists.
South Africans, perhaps, have a greater perspective about the importance of rugby and that balance pervades into the Springboks themselves who, from everything they have said to the media this week, appear to be processing their predicament with a level-headedness that suggests they continue to see where they sit in the broader context of a nation whose domestic reality is at odds with its global projection as first world.
In essence, the Boks see rugby as the antidote to the pressure of everyday life in South Africa. Rugby is their escape, their means to live in an alternative, safer world where they can rationalise and minimise the pressure they feel to win by comparing it with the far greater pressure many of them have felt just to survive.
New Zealand, on the other hand, built its relationship with the All Blacks in the absence of any pressing, debilitating or alarming social, political or economic dramas.
As much of Europe stared upon mostly destroyed industrial wastelands in the wake of World War II, New Zealand had never looked so green and lush, so sleepy and welcoming with its political stability, food for everyone and growing reputation as a nation of workers and doers.
Obsessing about the All Blacks back in the 1950s was a tribute, almost, to the near utopian state of the nation.
The fact that this obsession remains today in the face of rising child poverty, horrible domestic violence statistics and teen suicide rates, is more a sign that old habits are hard to break than New Zealanders not having better things to worry about.
Perhaps too, with images of gas-guzzling utes winding their way through Auckland queuing for fast food being presented as typifying quintessential modern New Zealand, the All Blacks are seen as the last link to a much-missed old world of milking sheds, lamingtons and highly anticipated royal visits.
In a pure rugby context, how these quite disparate historical relationships the All Blacks and Springboks have with their respective wider fan bases creates a fascinating dynamic.
These two old foes will play their 100th test against each other and while both are desperate to win, the pressure they respectively feel to do that is being applied by radically different sources.
The question that inevitably arises is which source will prove to be the most powerful?
The Boks playing with a sense of gratitude for the opportunity they have to spread a little cheer in a nation that has not always got too much to cheer about, or the All Blacks, carrying the hopes of a nation that continues to see them as a microcosm of New Zealand's political, societal and economic health?
It may not present New Zealand as particularly enlightened or connected to the geo-political realities that are more keenly felt mostly everywhere else, but the tense and often fraught relationship between the All Blacks and their obsessive fans has proven to be an eternal motivator and powerful dynamic in driving their sustained excellence.
As much as it shouldn't be the case, the clawing, suffocating pressure the public apply is almost welcomed and relished by the All Blacks, regardless of whatever else it may say about the country.
That pressure creates a constant world of expectation for the players and with it, the All Blacks have become one of the few teams in the world that carry the mantle of favouritism as easily as they do that of being the underdog.
The Springboks, proud, passionate and determined, have this year looked like a team that hasn't been comfortable living up to their status as world champions and No 1 team.
They created a source of pressure that drove them to be the best in the world, but it has so far not proven one powerful enough to keep them there and at the moment they are playing like a team riddled with self-doubt, while the All Blacks have been crushed by the weight of public expectation into something of a rough diamond.