Irish legend believes Springboks star Steven Kitshoff has been ‘dominated’ and ‘exposed’ at Ulster

Jared Wright
Springboks prop Steven Kitshoff and ex-Ireland and Ulster flanker Stephen Ferris.

Stephen Ferris is not impressed by the Springboks' stint at Ulster.

Double Rugby World Cup-winning Springboks prop Steven Kitshoff has not impressed ex-Ireland and Ulster flanker Stephen Ferris during his stint in Northern Ireland.

Ferris believes that the loosehead has been “exposed” during his time in Ulster and has been left disappointed by his impact at the side.

Ulster announced on Friday that Kitshoff would return to the Stormers at the end of the season after just one year in Belfast, despite the Bok signing a three-year deal after the 2023 World Cup.

Leaving Ulster after just one season

Kitshoff’s return to Cape Town coincides with the Stormers securing a new private equity investment, while Ulster are grappling with financial issues and parted ways with head coach Dan McFarland and CEO Jonny Petrie.

It’s also been a challenging season for Ulster on the pitch as they have won seven of their 13 United Rugby Championship (URC) matches and sit eighth in the standings while they also failed to progress past the Investec Champions Cup pool stages.

Regardless, Ferris believes that Kitshoff hasn’t made much of an impact during his time with Ulster.

“I’m sick of talking about the negatives of Ulster rugby; it seems to be never-ending,” he told Balls.ie.

“There were rumours before that Ulster might try get him off the wage bill even though he’s only been in Northern Ireland not even the guts of six months, I believe.

“It’s a weird one because everybody was so excited to get this double World Cup-winning loosehead prop who’s going to bring so much to the table, Ulster were going to leap on and that hasn’t happened. If anything Steven Kitshoff has been dominated in the scrum.”

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Kitshoff exposed

The former back-rower added that Ulster’s scrum issues weren’t all Kitshoff’s doing but that he didn’t produce on his pedigree.

“I’m not saying it’s down to him, whether it’s Rob Herring or Tom Stewart scrumming down beside him as well as Tom O’Toole, they are getting under massive pressure and under the pump and he’s (Kitshoff) certainly been exposed as well,” Ferris concluded.

Meanwhile, Stormers director of rugby John Dobson was pleased to welcome back Kitshoff, who led the Stormers in their title-winning URC season.

“We always wanted to get him back and I am just thrilled that with the backing of our new owners, we have been able to make that happen so quickly,” he said.

“He is a proud product of our system and we cannot wait to see him in the blue and white again next season.”

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