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By AFP


Scotland match ‘a final for us’, says Bok star Cheslin Kolbe

The defending champions from four years ago opening their 2023 competition with a match against Scotland.


Springbok wing Cheslin Kolbe said the defending champions’ opening Rugby World Cup clash with Scotland “will be a final for us”.

South Africa start their Pool B campaign against the Scots in Marseille on September 10.

They then face top-ranked Ireland, Tonga and Romania in the group stage.

‘Final’

“The match against Scotland will be a final for us because we are in a difficult pool,” Kolbe told AFP on Sunday.

“We will focus on our preparation for this important match.

“We are defending champions but that was four years ago. To reproduce that requires a lot of sacrifice, hard work and cohesion. We want to make our country proud of us and create memories.”

Coach Jacques Nienaber, meanwhile, said that the heat and humidity of Corsica have helped preparations for their opener against Scotland.

“The players are used to the heat and humidity after training in these conditions in Corsica,” Nienaber said in an SA Rugby statement after the squad arrived in Toulon to continue their build-up.

He added: “Scotland are ranked fifth in the world, and we know what they are capable of, so it is vital that we hit the ground running from our first training session.”

Warm-up wins

The Springboks arrived in Toulon after a ferry trip from the Mediterranean island of Corsica, where they spent one week after decisive victories in their final warm-up matches.

South Africa trounced Wales 52-16 in Cardiff, then scored a 35-7 victory over New Zealand at Twickenham, a record winning margin in 105 Tests against their greatest rivals.

New Zealand and South Africa have won the World Cup three times each.

Nienaber added later Sunday that he pays no attention to his team’s tag as favourites to clinch a fourth World Cup.

“It has no influence on us. Whether we are favourites or not will not make us better than Scotland,” he said.

“I understand the concept and it is history but only our preparation will have an impact on this game.”

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