The was the message from Springbok assistant coach Felix Jones, hooker Bongi Mbonambi and scrumhalf Cobus Reinach on Thursday as they looked forward to the make-or-break clash. 

They agreed that playing against France at home was a massive occasion and vowed that they would give everything on Sunday as they attempt to defend their world champions' title.

“There are 60 million South Africans back home who are looking for hope and inspiration and we take that on ourselves, not as pressure, but as a massive privilege and honour,” Mbonambi said.

“Each player has different ways of preparing for a match, and when we are together, we do what we have to do, but when we get into the changeroom it’s only about the Springboks and South Africa.”

Jones said: “This is a hugely anticipated match against France at home in the World Cup quarter-final. There will be a large crowd with the majority of them being French, but we have 60 million people at home in South Africa and we’ll be playing for them.”

Reinach stressed the importance of entering the match in the right mental state, saying: “This is a World Cup quarter-final and there’s a lot to play for. We try to keep our emotions out of our preparations because that can take you off course.

“As Eben (Etzebeth) said earlier today, we all have a job to do on Sunday and we want to deliver a good performance on the pitch that both the team and the 60 million people at home can be proud of."

Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber will announce his matchday squad for the match on Friday, and Jones said the competition for places in the team was tight.

“We want to pick the right team to get the result on the weekend,” said Jones. “In the last year we’ve been trying to balance things in terms of the player load, and we’ll see in the next three games if we got it right.”

Cobus Reinach at training in Paris on Thursday.

Cobus Reinach at training in Paris on Thursday.

When asked how difficult it would be to select between Handre Pollard and Manie Libbok at flyhalf, given the importance of accurate goal-kicking in the playoff stages of the world’s biggest competition, Jones said: “Our selection is very tight in a number of positions, and flyhalf is one of them. Handre has done the job for us before, but Manie has also been playing good rugby for us.

“We are taking penalties into consideration. But that said, in a game there could be 10 penalties and over a 100 rucks, seven or eight scrums, and 20 lineouts, so it’s just one of the considerations.”

Jones said one of the key focus areas for the team this week was to build a solid foundation in the opening stages of the match to prevent a situation in which the game comes down to the dying minutes - similarly to last season when they suffered a heart-breaking 30-26 defeat against France in Marseille.

“A number of our games in the last two or three years have come down to the last play or last few minutes,” said Jones. “Similarly, to last season we expect this to be a tight game, but as a team, we don’t want it to come down to that. The big moments in the first 60 or 70 minutes are going to be very important because we have to try to nail down everything to avoid the match being decided late.”

While Jones spoke highly of France’s kicking game, Mbonambi said the forwards were ready for a massive battle.

“The French kicking game is incredibly effective, and they get big distance with the quality of kickers they have, so we have to match that,” said Jones.

Speaking of France’s forwards, Mbonambi said: “They rely heavily on their pack of forwards, and they’ve been scrummaging well. We’ve been analysing them and training with live scrums, so now we have to go out and do it on the field, and we are excited about that challenge.”

Of the prospect of facing French captain and scrumhalf Antoine Dupont, who was cleared to play earlier this week after having surgery to his cheekbone, Reinach, who is one of four scrumhalves in contention for a place in the matchday squad, said: “He was the world player of the year, and you have to be a special player to earn that title. In almost every game he plays there is a highlights reel.

“But we have spoken much about him as an individual. Our focus has been on our systems and how our plans are working.”

The Springboks wrapped up their main training block for the week on Thursday and will have Friday off to rest before their captains run on Saturday.