Springbok assistant coach Mzwandile Stick and wing Cheslin Kolbe paid tribute to the millions of fans in South Africa - and abroad - who have passionately celebrated the team’s journey to the RWC final after tough a quarter-final against hosts, France, and semi-final against England. The pair said the main objective was to keep inspiring the nation and giving people from all walks of life hope that they can achieve anything regardless of their circumstances.

“This is a very special moment for all of us involved,” said Stick.

“This is what we live for. It’s not just about us. It’s about the people dreaming to be here from different communities around the country. And for us personally, it’s very special to do our bit to unite the country.

“For a guy like Siya (Kolisi – Springbok flanker and captain) from Zwide in the Eastern Cape, it’s a fairytale story and it shows that that no matter what background you come from, anything is possible. 

“The vibe around the Springboks and the messages of support from home have been very special to us all.”

Kolbe said those messages were a massive driving force for the players as they attempt to retain the world champions title and make South Africa the first nation to win the Rugby World Cup four times.

“The coaches shared a few clips and videos with us about the support and excitement back home, and it’s incredible,” said Kolbe.

“Some of the videos brought tears to our eyes. There are people at home making plans and pulling things together to be able to watch the match, and we are humbled by that. Hopefully we can go out there and make the country proud.

“Not many teams get to play in a World Cup final and this is massive, especially if one takes where we come from and what South Africa has been through. It shows what the country and this jersey means to us. Our job now is to ensure that we are focused and ready both physically and mentally on matchday.”

Stick expected a gruelling battle between the two top-ranked teams in the world: “It’s going to be a tough game. They have special players and they’ve gelled at the right time, so you can never underestimate them. We’ll definitely have to be in the game for the full 80 minutes and hopefully things will go our way.”

Stick added: “The last time we faced them (New Zealand) in the Rugby World Cup final (in 1995) the country took a lot from that and many of us fell in love with rugby.

“Both countries have won three World Cup titles, and we are both going for a record fourth win, so this is more than a World Cup final.”

Kolbe was equally excited about this momentous occasion: “There’s been a lot of history and rivalry between the Springboks and All Blacks for years and it will be like that for many more years to come. We know what we are in for and we are really looking forward to it. It will be especially important to use the chances we create.”

With the Bok speedster set to stand in as the back-up scrumhalf with a seven-one split in favour of the forwards being named on the bench, Kolbe said he was prepared if he had to step into that role.

“I played Sevens rugby, and I was a sweeper there, and I’ve played in two games before for the Boks at scrumhalf, so I believe in the coaches’ plans,” said Kolbe.

“I’ve also received some input from Faf (de Klerk), Jaden (Hendrikse) and Grant (Williams) to help prepare so that I can be at the required standard.”

Saturday will have extra significance for Kolbe, who will celebrate his 30th birthday, but he said that was the last thing on his mind.

“It’s another year and another blessing for me,” said Kolbe. “But it is not about me, it is about the country, so my only focus now is to go on the field and give my best.”

With the match marking Springbok head coach Jacques Nienaber and assistant coach Felix Jones’ last game at the helm before moving to Leinster and England respectively, Stick paid tribute to them, but he stressed that their focus was purely on the game, rather than emotions.

“I’ve been working with Jacques since 2016 and Felix since he joined us in Japan in 2019 and they are great men,” said Stick. “I’ve learned a lot from them both and I’d like to wish them luck for their future endeavours.

“That said, this match is not about emotions for us. There are over 60 million people behind us, and it is special for the team to contribute to the country.

The match in Paris kicks off at 21h00 and will be broadcast live on SuperSport.