If host nation New Zealand are feeling the heat, so too are defending World Cup champions South Africa, according to Springbok wing Bryan Habana.
But more important for the Bok flyer, he is determined to get a monkey off his back.
Habana said he is determined on finally becoming the sole holder of the record South Africa's most prolific try scorer - which he currently shares with legendary scrumhalf Joost van der Westhuizen.
Although Habana scored his 38th Test try in June last year, he has struggled to reproduce the finishing form that saw him equal Jonah Lomu's World Cup record of eight tries in the 2007 tournament.
The 28-year-old is confident he can reproduce the form that saw him won IRB Player of the Year in 2007.
He is hoping the record will come on Sunday, when the Springboks face Wales in Wellington in their opening Pool D game.
"I'd like to hope so," he said.
"I thought it would have happened a while ago. If I do get chosen to play, I would love to make a positive contribution to the start of our campaign."
After winning the Webb Ellis Cup in 2007, Habana says the weight of expectation from home fans is riding high again despite the Springboks, rated the third-best side in the world, finishing bottom in this season's Tri-Nations.
"We had a send-off in South Africa where 65,000 people said goodbye to us," he said.
"When you get greeted by the President [Jacob Zuma] and he tells you to bring the cup back - he expects you to bring the cup back. The nation is saying, 'Good luck but don't come home empty-handed'."
But if anyone knows how to revel in the pressure-cooker atmosphere of a World Cup, it is Habana.
If South Africa stick to their winning 2007 formula of keeping it tight and putting pressure on opposing teams through well-judged kicks, that will be just fine with Habana.
"I've been chasing a lot of kicks for a while now, so I don't think that's going to change a bit," he said.
Those tactics have drawn criticism in some quarters, but Habana dismisses it out of hand.
Pinpoint kicking, tight defence and a solid forward platform, according to the winger, is "playing to their strengths".
"I definitely think we're going to play to our strengths, sticking to what has worked for us. We're not going to do anything drastically different to the last couple of years," he said.
With 18 players from South Africa's 2007 World Cup-winning squad returning for this tournament, that should not come as a surprise.
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