Springbok loosehead prop Steven Kitshoff says he’ll proceed giving all he can to fill the boots of retired Tendai Mtawarira throughout the upcoming Lions sequence.
Kitshoff – who is without doubt one of the extra skilled campaigners in Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber’s squad with 47 Take a look at caps – was one in every of a number of domestically based mostly gamers who reported for obligation on the group’s conditioning camp in Bloemfontein this previous Sunday.
They instantly bought right down to enterprise on Monday, seeking to the Assessments in opposition to Georgia on 2 and 9 July, and the three Assessments in opposition to the British & Irish Lions on Saturday, 24 and 31 July and seven August, respectively.
‘Again in 2009 I used to be nonetheless in Grade 11 so it was superior as a child watching “Beast” [Tendai Mtawarira], and I’ll attempt my greatest if I get chosen for the Springboks to signify and uphold that jersey as greatest as I can,’ mentioned Kitshoff.
‘It’s at all times going to be one of many hardest tournaments any participant will take part in. If you consider the British & Irish Lions and a Rugby World Cup, it’ll be up there with one of many hardest couple of weeks in your life.’
With huge boots to fill after Mtawarira bowed out of the sport with 117 Take a look at caps following the Springboks’ 2019 Rugby World Cup triumph, Kitshoff was filled with reward for his former teammate and mentioned his private mission was to proceed giving the whole lot he might on the sector.
‘Enjoying with Beast for a few years was an enormous honour and it was an important privilege to study from him and assist out the place I can,’ mentioned Kitshoff.
‘Everyone knows he is a superb legend within the sport and in South African rugby.
‘With regards to my psychological method, it’s going to be related. It’s about doing my job in addition to I can for the group and sacrificing myself for the Springbok and the better good of the group.’
Kitshoff reacted to considerations that the Springboks would enter the Lions sequence much less ready than the opposition, saying: ‘We got here collectively as a group this week, and a number of the guys final week, however as Deon [Davids, Springbok assistant coach] mentioned, we’ll take it daily and get our stuff so as, particularly the readability and elements we need to get proper on the sector in order that we are able to attempt to play to our strengths as greatest as potential.
‘The Lions will carry a giant problem, however the South African forwards are additionally among the many greatest.’
Zoning in on the British & Irish Lions, Kitshoff spoke extremely of Irish tighthead prop Tadhg Furlong: ‘I believe he’s an excellent tighthead. He has proven it during the last couple of years.
‘He has actually represented Eire very nicely, and within the earlier British & Irish Lions sequence [in New Zealand in 2017] he performed rather well for the group.
‘I’ve recognized him since I used to be 20 years previous. I performed in opposition to him for the Junior Boks and I’ve had a few video games in opposition to him since.
‘He’s a world-class participant, however I’m not taking something away from our tightheads on the Springboks. They’re world-class gamers that may rock up any day and out-scrum the opposition.’
Picture: Franck Fife/Getty Photographs