Springbok captain Siya Kolisi is hoping his team will create more “unforgettable moments” during this year’s Rugby World Cup in France.
The Boks were triumphant at the 2019 showpiece in Japan and Kolisi said this week, when the 100-day countdown to the start of the tournament was celebrated on Wednesday, that the Boks would love to once again give fans “something to smile about.”
The tournament kicks off in September, with the Boks in Pool B with Ireland, Scotland, Tonga and Romania.
Kolisi said the Boks were psyched up for the season ahead.
“It’s unbelievable to think that it was almost four years ago since we lifted the Webb Ellis Cup in Japan, and the players have been working hard to give us the best possible chance to defend our title,” said Kolisi.
“The memories of lifting the trophy and the emotional scenes of the fans waiting at the airport when we arrived home and lining the streets countrywide on our trophy tour were unforgettable moments.
“And while we know this World Cup is going to be extremely challenging, we would love to experience that again and give the people of our country something to smile about.
“We have 100 days to get everything in place for the competition, and we’ll give everything to ensure that we are ready both physically and mentally.”
Rugby Championship and World Cup
The Springboks wrapped up their second pre-season preparation camp in Durban on Wednesday, with the team set to kick-off their Rugby Championship training in a camp in Pretoria from Sunday 11 June.
The Boks face Australia at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday, 8 July, New Zealand at Mount Smart Stadium in Auckland (Saturday, 15 July), and Argentina at Emirates Airline Park in Johannesburg (Saturday, 29 July) in a shortened Rugby Championship.
These matches will be followed by three Rugby World Cup warm-up games against Argentina in Buenos Aires (5 August), Wales in Cardiff (19 August) and New Zealand in London (25 August) before the squad travels to Corsica for a one-week camp en route to Toulon for their opening World Cup fixture against Scotland.
“One can sense the urgency and excitement among the players to get the ball rolling full-time, which starts next month,” said coach Jacques Nienaber.
“We have a challenging and exciting journey ahead to the Rugby World Cup, and we are all looking forward to giving our best in an attempt to defend our title.”
Kolisi is currently recovering from knee surgery and it is not yet known if he will be fit to play at this year’s World Cup.