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By Athenkosi Tsotsi

Sports Reporter

Kitshoff: ‘Defending World Cup won’t be easy, we know there will be pressure’

The experienced prop says he's continuing to search for the 'one-percenters' to be a better player.

Springbok star Steven Kitshoff has been one of the outstanding players during the recent internationals, continuing the good and consistent form he showed for the Stormers.

Kitshoff enjoyed something of a fairy tale farewell season with the Stormers in the United Rugby Championship and even though his team lost in the final to Munster he became something of cult hero among the fans.

And now with the World Cup ahead of him, Kitshoff is looking to improve on the finer details of his game.

‘Rollercoaster of a season’

“It has been a rollercoaster of a season, especially with the Stormers and then coming into the Springboks, and the tough game against the All Blacks,” Kitshoff told the media this week after the announcement of the Rugby World Cup squad.

“I think one is never happy with your form, you’re always building and trying to improve every week and chasing those one-percenters. For me, it’s growing and staying involved and learning from the management and other players and trying to improve every weekend.”

Jacques Nienaber’s side will depart for Europe on Saturday where they will have two Rugby World Cup warm-up matches against Wales in Cardiff next weekend and then against the All Blacks on August 25 in London.

With less than a month left before the Boks begin the defence of the Webb Ellis Cup, Kitshoff has noted that there’s still plenty of work to be done ahead of their opening Rugby World Cup match against Scotland on September 10 in Marseille.


“We still have a big job to do … we have two more Test matches building up to the World Cup. We realise there’s a lot of hard work to be done until the end of the World Cup,” he said.

“There’s a lot of pressure, and trying to defend the trophy is never easy, so we realise there’s going to be a lot of work, and luckily we still have a couple of prep games building up to the Test match against Scotland.

“We realise all the teams have improved, we’ve seen the quality of international rugby over the last weeks. We realise it’s going to take a massive effort; rugby is a team sport, and we need the buy-in of every player mentally and physically to get to that top performing level.”