Steven Kitshoff. Picture: SA RUGBY TWITTER
Steven Kitshoff. Picture: SA RUGBY TWITTER

Auckland — Springbok prop Steven Kitshoff is enjoying the effect he has been having off the bench and wants to make a difference in Saturday’s Rugby Championship Test against the All Blacks in Albany.

Kitshoff has been named on the bench as Ruan Dreyer‚ Malcolm Marx and Tendai Mtawarira have been entrusted with the starting berths.

Kitshoff has been the cornerstone of some impressive second-half scrumming performances this season but is aware of how he has to raise his game, despite the relative inexperience of the All Black front row.

There’s a high possibility he may have to tangle with Blues prop Ofa Tu’ungafasi‚ an adversary Kitshoff remembers well from the 2012 under-20 Rugby World Cup, which SA won after beating their New Zealand counterparts in an enthralling final at Newlands.

Tu’ungafasi was sent off in that game along with Paul Willemse‚ who now plays his rugby in France.

"It’s great coming off the bench and it’s always good getting a bit of time‚" Kitshoff said. "The boys are playing well and Beast is doing some great things at the moment. I’m happy to get time off the bench.

"You get used to coming off the bench but I know and understand my role. I always say you must know and do your job and that’s my role. I try my best every weekend. You only get a short amount of time to make an impact and give it my all has been the one thing I’ve needed to get right," Kitshoff said.

"The All Blacks do have a new front row and I need to take it as it comes. We’ve done a lot of practice work and they’ve also done a bit of prep but we’ll see on Saturday. They’re a really good forward pack but we’ll see what happens on the weekend." Kitshoff is not in a position to write off the All Black pack, despite their front-row inexperience.

They have often found ways to live with any deficiencies that creep up, and through their scrum guru, Mike Cron‚ they have often got over their issues to dominate teams.

Kitshoff said they will have to work hard to get the better of the All Black pack.

"We’ve done a lot of prep this week and done a lot of work on our scrum. We’ve also analysed their scrum very well. We’ll have to work hard and take the game as it comes. I know I’ve been out of Super Rugby in the past couple of years and I don’t know Laulala and Hames that well‚" Kitshoff said.

"We’ve got a strong bench and we just have to pick up the pace and keep the tempo of the game going. The All Blacks always pick the game up in the last 20 minutes‚ so it’s going to be important to stick in the game and grind it out until the last minute."

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