Kolisi was speaking on the eve of the team’s departure to Japan, where they will be based for three weeks before the start of the global showpiece on 20 September.

The Springbok skipper said he as well as the rest of the squad know there is huge expectations from the South African public for them to perform well. Kolisi added they are embracing the massive outpour of support by all South Africans for the Springboks’ RWC campaign.

“We embrace and appreciate it and we are grateful for the South African public who are right behind us,” said Kolisi when he addressed media at the team’s departure media conference in Johannesburg on Thursday afternoon.”

However, Kolisi warned that hard work lies ahead in Japan.

“We will definitely build on what have worked on but we know that we have to start from scratch,” said Kolisi.

“The Rugby World Cup is a completely different animal and every single team pitches up, so we have to go there well-prepared.”

Kolisi missed the entire Castle Lager Rugby Championship campaign because of a knee injury, but he returned to action against Argentina in the Springboks’ last home Test match.

“I’m feeling really good, to be honest,” was his reply when asked about his current fitness levels.

“I was a bit worried (before the Pumas Test), but the great thing is that I was with the squad right up until they went on tour (to New Zealand and Argentina). The coach kept me with the rest of the team and I was involved in everything.

“But it was just a waiting period to see how the knee holds up, and it held up very well. It was not my best, but I was happy with the way that I played against Argentina. These past couple of weeks were also helpful, training wise,” added Kolisi.

The Springbok squad announcement happened on Monday and since then the Boks have had a very busy schedule which consisted of various sponsor and media activities and also training.

“To be honest, we’ve been working very hard since the beginning of the week,” said Kolisi.

“And with everything happening around us this week, I’ve just been focussing on the rugby, which is the main thing for us.

“It is a huge honour for all of us to play in the RWC and we are very grateful for the amazing support from all over South Africa. We go there to make South Arica proud.”

The South African squad fly out to Japan on Friday and a very exciting send-off is organised by SA Rugby to give Springbok supporters to chance to bid the squad farewell. The programme starts at 10h30 at the parking lot in front of the international departure area at the OR Tambo International Airport.

The Springboks play Japan in a warm-up match on Friday, 6 September and then open their RWC pool commitments against New Zealand two weeks later, on 21 September.