Springbok prop Steven Kitshoff has praised teammate Trevor Nyakane after his impact off the bench at loosehead prop helped the Springboks level the series with the British & Irish Lions.
Nyakane was somewhat surprisingly named as the replacement loosehead prop for Saturday’s second Test against the Lions, with Ox Nche missing out due to a neck injury.
While there was concern that Nyakane had not played a Test match at loosehead since 2017, the 32-year-old put that to bed with a superb impact as the Springboks overturned a 9-6 deficit to claim a 27-9 victory and tie the Lions series up.
Nyakane was part of a Springbok Bomb Squad which provided an immense impact in the second half of the Test and he well and truly got the better of Rory Sutherland at scrum time.
“I think Trevor did an unbelievable job at loosehead in the last 20 minutes,” Kitshoff said after the match. “He really worked hard during the week, working on his set-up.
“It’s a total conversion from tighthead to loosehead in seven days. I think he did exceptionally well and put the Lions scrum under a lot of pressure. He had to learn a bunch of calls from the lineout and I think he did a great job. I am proud of him.
“He has always been an unbelievable rugby player in my eyes. He rocks up, brings a lot of physicality. He is very clever when it comes to decision-making. We can be proud of his performance tonight.”
Kitshoff, who played a landmark 50th Test match for the Springboks, said he was happy to mark the occasion with a win.
“It was a lot of hard work during the week, especially after last week’s disappointment. We had to take a hard look in the mirror to identify what we did wrong. We actually did very well this week. I think this week’s training was one of the better buildups I have experienced in a Bok jersey.
“It was a total team performance. I think everyone, all the way from No 1 to 23, rocked up and gave it their all. We realised how important this was for us a team, for our country, for our family and our friends.”
Photo: David Rogers/Getty Images