Siya Kolisi says the Springboks are relishing the challenge of getting their Rugby World Cup campaign off to a tough start with a “playoff game” against Scotland on Sunday.
The Springboks face two of the top five teams in the world in the pool stages in Ireland (currently the top side in the world) and Scotland, with their other pool matches being against Romania and Tonga.
With the Boks being drawn in the so-called ‘pool of death’, Kolisi said they had to hit their straps fast in the tournament.
“A lot has been said about our pool, but at the end of the day we have to beat the best teams if we want to win the World Cup,” said Kolisi.
“To start the competition with such a game (against Scotland) will certainly prepare us for what is to come because it’s almost like a playoff game.”
Kolisi spoke highly of Scotland and expected a thrilling opening game.
“One could see how hard they pushed against France, so we have been doing a lot of preparation on them, just as we do on every other team,” said Kolisi.
“They are a quality team, who are confident about how they play, and they are an attack orientated team. This is an important game for us.”
With the Boks entering the competition as the defending champions, there will be big expectations on the team, especially from the fans back home in South Africa, but Kolisi embraced the hope the fans have in the team.
“It’s never pressure for us, it is a privilege to represent the country and to do what we love,” said Kolisi.
“When we won the World Cup in Japan it was special, but when we landed in Johannesburg the scenes at the airport were something I’ve never experienced before. That’s the kind of energy that reminds us who we are playing for.”
Photo: HENRY NICHOLLS / AFP