With the Springboks on a good trajectory this season with three victories in their four Test matches to date, and only two more RWC warm-up games left – against Wales (19 August) and New Zealand (25 August) – before they enter the international showpiece, public expectation has been building on the defending champions.
The Boks will kick off their World Cup campaign against Scotland in Marseille on Sunday, 10 September, before lining up against Romania in Bordeaux (17 September), Ireland in Paris (23 September) and Tonga in Marseille (1 October) in their other pool matches.
“We know what the country wants and expects, and we want the same thing,” said Kolisi, who returned to full team training on Monday following knee surgery.
“We love the pressure because there was a time that no-one wanted to see us play. So, we embrace the pressure, and we want to do something special that has only been done by New Zealand to win back-to-back World Cups, and also to become the first team to win it four times.
“We know what it will mean to us and the country. As Coach Rassie (Erasmus – SA Rugby Director of Rugby) said in 2019, it’s not pressure, it’s a privilege.”
Kolisi attached little significance to the fact that this would mark his third World Cup and said: “It’s always special to be part of the group. There are so many guys that could have been selected and didn’t make it, so for those of us who were selected, we have the responsibility to ensure we play for them too.”
The Springboks had their first field training session of the week on Wednesday morning following the team's arrival from Buenos Aires on Monday and will have two more before the team's official farewell on Saturday.