Jones, who will serve in his last game in the green and gold before returning to Europe, said the team were in a good frame of mind three days before their biggest match since lifting the Webb Ellis Cup in Japan in 2019.

“The mood in the camp is what you’d expect before a World Cup final,” he said. “There’s huge excitement and a high level of focus which is all geared toward delivering a quality performance. For the players it has been about trying to nail down the detail early in the week, and we are enjoying it.”

The fact that the match is a repeat of the famous 1995 final – at which Nelson Mandela presented the winning trophy before an enraptured worldwide audience – has added spice to the occasion alongside the fact that the winner will edge ahead as the holder of four titles to the other’s three.

“Everyone is conscious of the rivalry,” said Jones. “But this is another opportunity to meet New Zealand in a final, and we are excited about the occasion.”

Springbok fullback Willie le Roux said the Boks have a lot of respect for New Zealand: “The rivalry between the teams is big and as players we cherish that. To face them in a World Cup final is extra special.”

The teams will cross paths for the third time this year when the match kicks off at 21h00 in Paris, and Springbok loose forward Kwagga Smith said, this is by far the most significant of them all.

“This is the match that counts,” said Smith. “We know it will be an epic battle and the forward battle is going to be tough, but we are looking forward to the challenge.”

Willie le Roux in action against England in the RWC semi-final last weekend.

Willie le Roux in action against England in the RWC semi-final last weekend.

Smith added: “I played against New Zealand at Under-20 level, in Sevens rugby and now in the 15-man code, and there’s a lot of respect between the sides. We bring out the best in one another, so it’s exciting.”

Smith, who was only two years old when the Springboks defeated New Zealand in the 1995 Rugby World Cup in South Africa, said the Boks had to be up for the challenge both mentally and physically to retain the title.

“This is a final and we have to be up for it for 80 minutes or even possibly 100 minutes, so we have to use the opportunities we create,” said Smith. “We have to stick to our plan, and it will be vital to pounce on any chances when they arise.”

Smith also expected a physical onslaught at the breakdowns saying: “The breakdown is massive against them, so we’ve been working hard on that. We need to be sharp there and retain possession and we’ll also try to win turnovers.”

Jones was so focused on the RWC final he pushed aside his emotions ahead of his last match as a Springbok assistant coach.

“I feel really grateful,” said Jones. “I have a lot of gratitude to the players, coaches, and the community in South Africa. It has been an incredible time with the team.

“I don’t really bring emotion into it. It’s more a sense of excitement. This could also be the last match that some players play for their country and in their careers, so for us as coaches the most important thing is to ensure that the team is on the right track and well prepared.”

The Springboks will have Thursday off and will wrap up their on-field preparations for the match at Friday’s captain’s run.