Cape Town - The likelihood of Stormers loosehead prop Steven Kitshoff making his Springbok debut this year appears all the more likely.
The 23-year-old has been the standout loosehead prop in this year’s Super Rugby competition.
Kitshoff along with tightheads, Frans Malherbe and Vincent Koch, have wreaked havoc at scrum time, with the Cape side boasting arguably their best scrum in many a year.
Kitshoff has caught the eye of Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer, who in Monday heaped praise on the young player.
Meyer addressed a media scrum after a Springbok camp training session at a chilly, windswept Cape Town Stadium on Monday.
“I think he’s been brilliant,” Meyer said of Kitshoff.
“Last time I said to him he’s a brilliant player, but he needed to improve his ball handling skills and probably play more with the ball, because that’s what we want from the loosehead. He went back to the Stormers and really improved on that and he’s been world class.”
Kitshoff, who actively participated in Monday's training session, is likely to compete for a spot in the Bok team with fellow looseheads, Beast Mtawarira and Trevor Nyakane.
Mtawarira has played for the under-performing Sharks, while Nyakane has featured in an inconsistent Bulls scrum, and with the retirement of Gurthro Steenkamp, it would be daft not to give Kitshoff a taste of international rugby before the World Cup.
The sooner Kitshoff makes his mark on the Test arena, the better for his Springbok future, as he will join French club Bordeaux-Begles after this year’s Currie Cup on a two-year deal.
While it is policy to pick overseas Boks, playing rugby outside the South African public eye could be detrimental for an inexperienced international player to build a Test career...