'Trevor did an unbelievable job'
REACTION: Springbok prop Steven Kitshoff had plenty of praise for his teammate Trevor Nyakane after the 32-year-old’s performance at loosehead prop in the second half of the second Test against the British and Irish Lions on Saturday.
After trailing 6-9 at the break, the Springboks’ bench played a massive role in turning the tide in the second 40 with the hosts eventually winning the match 27-9 to level the series ahead of the third Test next weekend.
Nyakane, who started at tighthead in the first Test, was surprisingly named on the bench as loosehead cover for the second Test. Ox Nche was not available due to a neck injury.
“I think Trevor did an unbelievable job in the last 20 minutes,” Kitshoff told reporters after the match.
“He really worked hard during the week.
“It was a total conversion from tighthead to loosehead in seven days and I think he did exceptionally well and he put the Lions’ scrum under a lot of pressure.
“I am very proud of him.”
Kitshoff also acknowledged Lood de Jager’s impact off the bench in the second half.
“Lood has always been an unbelievable rugby player in my eyes.
“He rocks up and he brings a lot of physicality and he is very clever when it comes to decision-making.
“They [Nyakane and De Jager] can both be proud of their performance tonight [Saturday],” said Kitshoff, who played his 50th Test match for the Springboks.
Kitshoff spoke highly of the combined effort by the team to bounce back after trailing 6-9 at half-time.
“It was a total team performance – from No.1 to No.23 rocked up and gave it their all,” said the big prop
“There were big moments throughout the game, and in the second half we realised we had to lift the tempo, scrummage well and be effective in our rolling mauls for us to get proper momentum and dominance toward the end of the game.”