South Africa prop Steven Kitshoff has a long history with Tadhg Furlong and knows exactly what his powerful Irish counterpart brings to the table as they prepare to square up in one of the key areas of the British and Irish Lions series next month.
The Springboks used their scrum to outmuscle England in the 2019 Rugby World Cup final and will see it as a potent weapon during the three Tests against the touring Lions that will be played on consecutive Saturdays from July 24, live on Sky Sports.
Following the retirement of Tendai Mtawarira after that World Cup final, Kitshoff is the frontrunner for the role to face up against Furlong.
“He’s a very good tighthead. He has shown that over the last couple of years when he has represented Ireland,” said Kitshoff.
“On the previous Lions tour (to New Zealand in 2017) he played really well for the team.
“I have known him for a long time. I played for the South African U20 side against him and in my debut for the Springboks (in 2016) I scrummed against Tadhg.
“He is a world-class player, but we should not take anything away from our tightheads at the Springboks.
“On our day we can rock up and out-scrum anyone.”
Kitshoff, 29, says the loss of the vastly experienced Mtawarira, and the potential absence of injured No 8 Duane Vermeulen, puts pressure on others to step into bigger leadership roles in the side.
“The Springboks have an unbelievable group of leaders and key guys that run certain positions, so everyone has a role and responsibility in a certain department,” he said.
“If you do the job well in the week (leading up to the match) it makes it so much easier to control certain situations.”
Every match from the British & Irish Lions tour of South Africa will be exclusively live on Sky Sports; fans who don’t have Sky will be able to catch all the action via streaming service NOW, which offers day and month passes
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