With the World Cup taking priority, the Springboks have rotated their squad for the Tri-Nations clash in Port Elizabeth with a view to peaking when the teams gather in New Zealand in three weeks' time to compete for the biggest prize in the sport.
South Africa boss Peter de Villiers has remained steadfast in his policy of treating the SANZAR event as a warm-up for the World Cup but Henry is adamant the hosts will want to sign off their preparation with a win.
"I think it's very important," he said when asked about the relevance of a victory for the Boks.
"I would think Peter (de Villiers) and John (Smit) and the team will be desperate.
"It would just give them the little kick they need going into the World Cup. They haven't got another game so I would think it is vital for them to win."
The All Blacks have named a side full of players trying to prove their form and fitness ahead of the World Cup and Henry is hoping for clarification on some selection posers.
He added: "We have picked the side with a view to going forward. A lot of these players haven't played a lot of rugby lately.
"They have been out injured but they are definitely major contenders for the World Cup side. We need to see them play and hopefully they will help us make the decisions needed."
The match may boil down to a World Cup trial for several of the New Zealand players but South Africa's stand-in skipper Victor Matfield believes the majority of the Springboks XV are assured of their places.
He said: "Every guy starting should be on the plane to New Zealand for the Rugby World Cup.
"There can't be any excuses any more. We need to be hard on ourselves.
"We need to start winning, we need to get momentum."
Matfield is aware the visitors will be well backed in Port Elizabeth.
"The All Blacks have a lot of support in South Africa, especially in the Cape area," he said.
"All we can do is do our job, do it well and hope that the next time they come back to a game they are wearing a green jersey."
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