The clash between the current and No 1 and No 2 teams in the world was tipped as one of the biggest matchups for both teams in the pool rounds and the build-up to the match has rubberstamped this opinion.
Stick was immediately quizzed about the Springboks’ split of seven forwards and one back on the bench at Friday’s media conference, and he played down the excitement, saying it was a simply a case of doing what the team felt was the best option for this match.
“It’s the World Cup,” said Stick.
“It’s the biggest competition in world rugby and when people talk about us it means they are interested in the team. We do what works for us and with our team selection it allows us to ensure that we have fresh legs on the field.”
Stick added: “We are playing against the best team in the world and as a group we lean on our strengths, so we won’t change much in the way we do things. Ireland are similar to Scotland in how organised they are, so we know what to expect. That said, this is a World Cup, and we must adapt to any challenges.”
Springbok centre Damian de Allende looked forward to lining up against Ireland centre Bundee Aki, who will earn his 50th cap this weekend, and said: “I’ve encountered him a few times when I was at Munster and after that. He’s a fantastic player and he’s up there with the best in the world. He’s also in good form. It’s his 50th Test tomorrow and he’ll be up for it, but I’m also ready and excited about the match.”
Springbok prop Steven Kitshoff was also raring to go in what he anticipates will be a major battle in the scrums and set pieces.
“They are very good in the scrums, but as forwards in this squad we are all aligned and we’ll have a full go at them, just as they will at us,” said Kitshoff. “We’ve been training hard from the alignment camps (earlier in the year), and we’ve been trying to improve week by week, so we are looking forward to the challenge.”
With rain pouring down in Paris in the last two days, Stick was confident that the weather would not impact much on the team and said: “It was very hot and humid in Corsica and Toulon, and we trained with a wet ball to get used to it, so if it rains tomorrow, we’re prepared for it. In South Africa you sometimes experience four seasons in one day, so it is nothing new to have different weather conditions on the same day.”
The match kicks off at 21h00 and will be broadcast live on SuperSport.