There is a lot at stake in a World Cup quarter-final. One missed tackle or one lopsided set-piece attempt could be the hammer blow that shatters your title dreams. Moreover, when you play against the host country in its capital, the temperature of the pressure cooker simply rises much faster.
But according to Bongi Mbonambi, the Springboks will throw everything into the battle on Sunday to win their quarter-final against France at the Stade de France.
“There are 60 million South Africans at home looking for hope and inspiration. So we don’t see it as pressure, but as a great honor and privilege,” said Bongi Mbonambi.
According to the Bok hacker, each player prepares for a showdown in his own unique way, but everyone is switched on at the right time, as it were, to give their best for the team and its supporters.
“When we get ready for a game in the locker room, it’s only about the Springboks and South Africa.”
The lightning-fast Cobus Reinach is in the Bokke’s starting team and his direct opponent is Antoine Dupont; the Roosters’ captain and talisman.
“Antoine was World Rugby’s player of the year and you have to be a special player to win such an honour. He takes care of a lot of highlights in almost every test. We talked about him as an individual threat, but our focus was much more on our structures and game pattern,” said Reinach.
The Montpellier scrum-half was also persuaded to give his best.
“Eben (Etzebeth) said earlier that every player has a task to perform on Sunday: We want to deliver a performance that the team and the 60 million people at home can be proud of.”
Springboks: Damian Willemse (full back), Kurt-Lee Arendse (right wing), Jesse Kriel (outside centre), Damian de Allende (inside centre), Cheslin Kolbe (left wing), Manie Libbok (fly-half), Cobus Reinach (scrum-half), Duane Vermeulen (eighth man) , Pieter-Steph du Toit (flank), Siya Kolisi (flank and captain), Franco Mostert (lock), Eben Etzebeth (lock), Frans Malherbe (prop), Bongi Mbonambi (hooker) and Steven Kitshoff (prop). Substitutes: Deon Fourie, Ox Nche, Vincent Koch, RG Snyman, Kwagga Smith, Faf de Klerk, Handré Pollard and Willie le Roux.
France: Thomas Ramos (full back), Damian Penaud (right wing), Gael Fickou (outside centre), Jonathan Danty (inside centre), Louis Bielle-Biarrey (left wing), Matthieu Jalibert (fly-half), Antoine Dupont (scrum-half), Grégory Alldritt (eighth man), Charles Ollivon (flank), Anthony Jelonch (flank), Thibaud Flament (lock), Cameron Woki (lock), Uini Antonio (prop), Peato Mauvaka (hooker) and Cyril Baille (prop). Substitutes: Pierre Bourgarit, Reda Wardi, Dorian Aldegheri, Romain Taofifenua, Francois Cros, Sekou Macalou, Maxime Lucu and Yoram Moefana.