Kolisi, Faf de Klerk (scrumhalf) and Damian Willemse (fullback) cherished the intense rivalry between the teams dating back over 100 years and said that would make the global showcase an even bigger spectacle.
The Springbok captain said it’s always a huge occasion facing the All Blacks, and adding the the magnitude of the event, it’s also the two top-ranked teams in the world playing in the RWC final.
“It’s probably the biggest game of my life,” said Kolisi.
“I don’t think it will happen in our lifetimes again that we have another game like this, and we are excited. We know how good they are.
“One only has to look at how they turned things around quietly after going through a dip last year to see that. The fight they showed to get here says a lot about them as a team. Very few people gave them a chance to be here, and we are looking forward to Saturday.”
Kolisi said this occasion was much bigger for the team than just participating in the RWC final – it will be a huge day for South Africa as a whole.
“What we do on Saturday can control the mood of over 62 million South Africans,” said Kolisi. “People have been sending messages saying when we play it is the only time they are happy, and as a team we represent all kinds of people.”
As a toddler during the 1995 RWC, Kolisi may not have realised the significance of that win over New Zealand for the country back then, but he is well aware of the importance this time, especially after winning the title in 2019 in Japan.
“I was four years old then (in 1995), so I didn’t get to watch the game,” said Kolisi. “But the significance of that match for the Eastern Cape (where he’s from) and South Africa was massive, so it doesn’t get bigger than this in this World Cup. I’m sure you’ve seen the messages of support and videos from home.”
Kolisi added: “The last time the Springboks played a Rugby World Cup final in France (in 2007), I was sitting at a tavern in the Eastern Cape where people didn’t really know much about rugby.”
De Klerk and Willemse were equally thrilled about the opportunity to face the All Blacks in the world’s biggest match-up and they expected a hard grind of a match.
“I don’t really know why, but for me personally, it doesn’t get bigger than this (facing the All Blacks in a RWC final),” said De Klerk.
“And to do so in a match where we are playing for our fourth RWC title and back-to-back titles, we feel how special it is, and we feel the support out there for the team.
“This is a unique situation, and there may not be many after us who will have an opportunity like this. We are playing for a lot more than the Webb Ellis Cup. I can’t explain it because it’s a feeling, but I believe there will be some unbelievable rugby this weekend.”
Willemse said: “This match is massive for the team and the country. We are going up against a great team, but from our side, the pressure we faced in the quarter-final and semi-final set us up nicely for the final.”
The Springboks had Thursday off and will wrap up their preparations on Friday with their captains run. The Rugby World Cup final will kick off at 21h00 on Saturday.