Rassie Erasmus loses star Springboks prop for Ireland series as injury is worse than expected

Jared Wright
Rassie Erasmus and Springboks prop Steven Kitshoff.

Rassie Erasmus and Springboks prop Steven Kitshoff.

Springboks prop Steven Kitshoff is set to miss the upcoming internationals against Ireland in July.

The double Rugby World Cup-winning forward sustained a knee injury during Ulster’s Challenge Cup quarter-final defeat to Clermont in April, which ended his stint with the Irish province.

With the Test season fast approaching, Kitshoff is in a race against time to feature for the Boks against Ireland, but reports in South Africa state that Rassie Erasmus will be without his loosehead prop.

Kitshoff sidelined for Ireland series

According to Sunday newspaper Rapport, Kitshoff has chronic damage to the lateral compartment of his knee, which is believed to be the start of early arthritis.

The injury is thought to be worse than initially expected and will result in him missing the Tests against the back-to-back Six Nations winners, but the report suggests that he will be fit for the Rugby Championship.

He may well miss the opening Tests against Australia in the first two weeks of the competition, with the report adding that he is set to return to action against the All Blacks at the end of August.

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Kitshoff was always going to miss the first Test match of the year against Wales at Twickenham, with Ox Nche primed to fill either the starting or bench prop roles for Erasmus in the first Test of the year.

Second cap

Nche’s clubmate Nthuthuko Mchunu could earn a second Test cap against Wales with the Sharks out of the running for the United Rugby Championship play-offs with further options from at least one of the SA teams depending on who reaches the final on the same day.

As mentioned above, Kitshoff’s stint in Ulster has now come to a close with prop set to return to the Stormers next season. He played 14 times for the Irish side this season.

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The front rower’s absence is certainly a blow for the Boks having been a mainstay in the squad since making his debut against Ireland in 2016.

He has since racked up 83 Test caps for South Africa, winning two Rugby World Cups and a British and Irish Lions series.

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