When will Kitshoff get a start?

Wed, 04 Oct 2017 07:18

IN THE SPOTLIGHT: It surprising to think that a player as talented as Steven Kitshoff has not had a Test start for the Springboks yet.

Kitshoff, who is a powerful scrummager on the loosehead side and a strong ball carrier in open player, has represented his country 18 times at Test level, but he is seen more as an impact player for second-half skirmishes under head coach Allister Coetzee.

Tendai Mtawarira, who is vastly more experienced with 95 Test caps, has lifted his game considerably in 2017 and has held onto the No.1 jersey firmly during this year's international season.

However, Kitshoff, with the reputation he has built, surely must be close to getting that first start. Will it be against the All Blacks?  

"Right now, I'm just enjoying every moment I get on the field and if it comes off the bench or getting a start, it is incredible just to play in the Bok jersey," Kitshoff told reporters in Cape Town.

He added: "It is just important for me to be on the field. Beast [Tendai Mtawarira] is doing well at the moment and he is playing the rugby of his life."

Kitshoff believes the strong competition for places in the Bok front row has helped lift the standard in the squad. 

"I think the competition is good because it pushes all the players to be the best on the day. 

"I think we are learning a lot from each other at every training session and we chat about things and we talk about certain things like binding, which is a big part of scrummaging. There is also your body shape and the speed of engagement, which we are also working on. 

"I think the competition is taking all of us forward," said the 25-year-old prop.

Kitshoff is expecting another physical battle at scrum time against the All Blacks at Newlands on Saturday.

"With the New Zealanders it is a big physical confrontation on the field at scrum time. 

"They don't come with tricks, they come right out for you, so you know you are in a fight. 

"It is not always easy, but if you get your shape right and you get your bind right and you face them head-on then it will be a good fight on the day," he added.

By Warren Fortune
@FortuneWarren
@rugby365com

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