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Springbok prop Steven Kitshoff is hoping for a good surface at Cape Town Stadium when SA meet Wales in the deciding third Test on Saturday.
The Boks take on the Welsh Dragons with the three-match series on the line at 1-1. The series started with a win by the Boks at Loftus but Wales kept the series alive with a spirited win in Bloemfontein last weekend and it’s the winner takes all in the Mother City.
Experienced front-rower Kitshoff says the last time he played at Cape Town Stadium — for the Stormers, when they beat the Bulls in the United Rugby Championship (URC) final — the surface was slippery.
“We haven’t played a game there in about three to four weeks, so I am not 100% sure what the surface looks like at the moment,” he said as SA ramped up their preparations in Hermanus for the hugely anticipated clash.
“With the URC it was a bit slippery and certain areas of the field were not in great shape but we were promised by the groundskeepers that they would fix the surface and hopefully it holds up this weekend.”
Wales go into the match with winger Alex Cuthbert having been ruled out with injury and there is a question mark over the fitness of captain Dan Biggar and prop Dillon Lewis.
“Wales have a good set piece and good scrum. You could see in the second half in Bloemfontein that they gained dominance in certain scrums.
“I still think it’s going to be a tough battle when it comes to set pieces and hopefully the surface holds up nicely for both teams to have a full go at each other. Even with their injuries, I still think they have a quality pack.”
The Boks conceded silly penalties that came back to haunt them, and Kitshoff wants the forwards to be disciplined.
“From the referee’s point of view, they want to get the game going, but you have to have clear dominance within the laws. You have to go through the middle, go straight and any collapse the referee will tend to allow the game to go on.
“As a pack we want to push straight, we want to have clear dominance to earn the penalty. We don’t want to really take corners or walk around the scrums, we want to go through the middle and if it is a clear picture we want the reward for it.”
Having featured in high-stakes matches during the 2019 World Cup, against the British & Irish Lions and in the URC final, Kitshoff knows how to handle pressure.
“Every Test is of most importance. It is to understand that this is another final, this is a series decider and for me it is about doing the same preparations I have done for every Test match.
“It is about doing the same amount of work during the week, making sure my ducks are in a row so that I can perform on the weekend and I think it is similar to the team and how the guys are feeling in camp.
“We understand the importance of this game, we understand how important it is for Wales — we need to get a win.”
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Published by Arena Holdings and distributed with the Financial Mail on the last Thursday of every month except December and January.