Nyakane opens up on 'challenging' move
SPOTLIGHT: Springbok prop Trevor Nyakane admitted that it was a challenge making the switch from tighthead to loosehead in the scrum during the Lions series.
After establishing himself as an international tighthead prop over the last few years, the 32-year-old was asked to cover the loosehead position again off the bench in the second Test against the British and Irish Lions after Ox Nché was ruled out due to a neck injury.
Nyakane was one of the bench players who played a massive role in turning the tide in the second half of that Test with the hosts winning the match 27-9 after going into the break 6-9 down.
He will be covering the loosehead role again for the series decider on Saturday.
“It was a bit challenging to move to loosehead because I think the last time I played there was in 2016,” said Nyakane.
“I’ve been playing tighthead for a few years now. Ox and Steven [Kitshoff] helped a lot, and the tightheads that we scrummaged against also gave me tips.
“As a group, we try to help each other, so the guys sat with me and so did the coaches and gave me pointers, and after training in the position I was confident in the build-up to the game.
“That said, credit must always go to the back five. We have so much firepower at the back that we [the front row] just have to concentrate on what we have to do.”
#⃣SPOTLIGHT: The @Springboks and @lionsofficial head into the series decider in #CapeTown🏟️ on #Saturday with several points of difference
🧐The players that could win or lose the series …#Rugby #RSAvBIL 🇿🇦V🇬🇧#LionsRugby #LionsSA2021
— rugby365.com (@rugby365com) August 5, 2021
‘I’ll even play lock’
Nyakane said he was happy to play any position in the Bok team.
“In my younger days I was always a loosehead and there was a time at my union where we were short on tightheads and they asked me to cover the position.
“Back then I would have said I am a loosehead helping out as a tighthead.
“But that has changed over time. Two weeks ago, I would have said I am a full-on tighthead, but now it is about what the team needs and it is all about the green and gold.
“As a player, I’ll give everything.
“I’ll even play lock if I had to, even though I wouldn’t be a great jumper,” he joked.