New Zealand effectively sealed the result at 25-17 when Lima Sopoaga slotted a 77th-minute penalty goal - after Damian de Allende was farcically red-carded for a late and high challenge on the Highlanders flyhalf as he attempted a drop goal.
Whitelock, Cane, Squire and Crotty all come back into the starting line-up for the big clash in Cape Town, live on Sky Sports, with the team essentially the same one that destroyed the Springboks 57-0 in Auckland last month.
"It felt like we played two games", said Smith. During that run the All Blacks have a staggering points differential of +2091 and average 4.4 tries a game.
The performance had many observers wondering why the Springboks have not played that way in their earlier matches this year.
Since winning the World Cup in 2015, New Zealand have amassed 19 wins, one draw and two losses- to the Irish in the USA and the second Lions test in Wellington on July 1.
"It's not a ideal formula and I believe it's a positive that we can move between that direct style of play and using more width, and we can also pressure teams with our kicking game", said Coetzee.
The champs also came through after losing playmaker Beauden Barrett to a head knock midway through the first half, and risky winger Nehe Milner-Skudder to a dislocated right shoulder at the end of the half.
Australia's second-place finish in this year's edition of the Rugby Championship has seen them climb to third in the rankings at the expense of Ireland and South Africa.
Trailing 8-3 at the break, the Springboks snatched a 10-8 lead soon after the resumption through halfback Ross Cronje's sneaky try, but they gifted New Zealand flyer Rieko Ioane a crucial 80-metre runaway try in the 60th minute via a loose pass.
All Blacks midfielder Sonny Bill Williams, on social media, thanks the Springboks and South African fans for a Test match the All Blacks wouldn't forget in a hurry.