The last time the Springboks took the field in South Africa was almost a year ago, in July last year, against Argentina, and this will mark a magnificent home-coming for the team after being crowned double Rugby World Cup champions – a challenge Kolisi relished.

“To be able to come home and play for the people and the country who we have been playing for all along is very special,” said Kolisi.

Marco van Staden and Siya Kolisi discuss tactics at the Boks captain’s practice Photo: SA Rugby

“This is the first time this specific group of players will face Ireland (with some of the newer players in the squad), and we haven’t beaten them since 2016. It’s also the first time we play on home soil, so we are really looking forward to the occasion.”

The hard-running flanker expected a competitive 80-minute encounter against the world’s second ranked team, and he highlighted the breakdowns as one of the key areas in the match they had to be completely accurate in.

“We don’t look at those things (the world champions vs the Six Nations champions),” said Kolisi.

“For us it’s about going out there and trying to win the match. Ireland are the one team we haven’t been able to beat in a while, so it’s a big Test, and they are a side that have been doing very well in the last few years.”

Zooming in on the breakdowns – an area Ireland have become renowned for – Kolisi said: “The breakdowns will be one of the big battles tomorrow. In the RWC we conceded a few penalties there, and we know that if they get quick ball, they’ll be dangerous.

“From our point of view though, the system protects us, but we must also bring the individual skills that we each offer the team. In general, we need to be sharp, get to the breakdowns and advantage line quickly, and make good decisions. We also have to be clinical and physical.”

Kolisi was delighted to be bestowed with the honour of retaining the captaincy after leading the team to RWC victory in 2019 and 2023 in Japan and France respectively, but he stressed that it would be a gruelling battle.

“It’s not easy (being the captain), but nether it is hard,” said Kolisi. “It’s a huge honour to be the Bok captain and it is great what it means to the public and team as well.

“That said, each player in the team has a role to play and it’s an honour for us all to represent our country. As coach Rassie (Erasmus) said earlier in the week, the captaincy is not a big thing for this group, what we care about most is what happens on the field.”

Commenting on his state of mind going into the battle, Kolisi said: “I feel good and strong, and with the new coaching staff I’m learning new things again.

“It feels different when one is in the Springbok squad, especially if one looks at the level of detail within the coaching staff and the mentality of the group, and that is something we’ll never take for granted.”

Springbok assistant coach Mzwandile Stick remembered the last match against Ireland in the Rugby World Cup pool stages clearly (the Boks lost 13-8) and although he emphasised it was history, he said there were a few key lessons they took from that match.

“It certainly fuels our motivation,” said Stick. “When we faced them before we created opportunities that could have placed us in a position to win the match. Their crowd is also always behind them.

“In that game there were things we didn’t do well, and we learned tough lessons from that, but it also brought us tighter together as a group. In fact, a lot of what we learned helped us in the match against France.

“We definitely have to rectify those mistakes and ensure that we perform better on Saturday because Ireland are a quality team and they have a way of using their chances.

“That said, what happened in the past won’t count tomorrow. The reality is that against a team like Ireland you’ll probably get five chances or so and you must use them to come out on top on the scoreboard on the day.”