South Africa's players have the same quiet belief they had heading into the 2007 World Cup in France, Springbok flyhalf Butch James said on Tuesday.
Having only recently returned to the national setup after a stint with English club Bath, James said the build-up to the previous tournament, where the Boks clinched their second title, was similar to the approach they had taken ahead of this year's showpiece in New Zealand.
"It feels pretty similar, I think," James said.
"The same vibe is around the team and the guys are excited and have that quiet belief of going all the way, just like we did in 2007."
While he joked that he would rather play in rain than in the windy conditions that had been forecast for Wellington's Westpac Stadium on Sunday, when the South Africans start their campaign against Wales, a much more serious James warned that the Welsh backline would provide a formidable challenge.
"I think they have a good mixture in their backs, they have their ball players and play makers in (Stephen) Jones, James Hook and Mike Philips.
"They've also got some big, strong ball carriers in (Jamie) Robberts and (George) North.
"They are a really good backline and tough to handle."
Like the rest of his teammates, James said he could not wait for the tournament to get under way.
"I think we've had that feeling for about a month now," he said.
"We just wanted the tournament to come around and get that first game going and then you are into it.
"We are looking forward to Sunday's game, and the kick-off to get the whole campaign going."
Getting back up to speed with what had happened to the southern hemisphere game over the last few years was crucial for the flyhalf who joined the Lions towards the end of their Super Rugby campaign.
James, however, said his game had not necessarily improved since he joined the Johannesburg side.
"I don't think it was too valuable as much as it was good to be back from a personal perspective in South Africa," he said.
"You obviously miss South Africa a lot when you're away and to get back earlier and to get some Super Rugby in was good."
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