Springbok No 8 Jasper Wiese is embracing the challenge of a do-or-die clash with World Cup hosts France in the last of four quarter-finals of the 2023 edition on Sunday.
The defending champions will face Les Bleus in the last eight of the tournament at Stade de France, after Ireland overtook the Boks to clinch Pool B with a bonus-point win over Scotland on Saturday.
The recent tussle between South Africa and France saw Fabien Galthie’s men triumph 30-26 at home last November, in a game where both Pieter-Steph du Toit and Antoine Dupont were red carded.
Both teams had improved since their encounter in Marseille, and Wiese can’t wait to lock horns with the French in what is expected to be a humdinger of a match.
Speaking to the media in the build-up, the 26-Test loose forward told reporters: “We talk a lot about pressure, but it’s pressure that we see as a privilege. We are representing the whole squad and 60 million people in South Africa, so we want to give everything on the field.
“France will certainly have a difficult set piece to move, but we also pride ourselves on our set pieces and gaining dominance from that. We’ve been working hard on our set pieces and there’s a lot more to do, but we are looking forward to the challenge.”
Wiese added: “They have a very big pack, but we’ll be up for it. It’s always a nice challenge going up against a pack like that. It will be a big forward battle and even bigger collisions.”
The hard-running back-row bruiser believes the world champions had taken valuable lessons from last year’s encounter, which will serve as good preparation going into this knockout tie.
“It was an intense game, and we learned a few things from that match,” said Wiese.
“We know we need to front up and try to take their momentum away. They are big boys and if you let them run hard at you, they’ll do it throughout the match.”
Sunday’s match will be just the second time that SA has faced France at a World Cup. Their first tournament meeting came in the 1995 semi-finals, when the Boks survived a French onslaught to win 19-15 at a waterlogged Kings Park in Durban.
Photo: Bradley Collyer/PA/BackpagePix