Springboks prop battle: Frans Malherbe and ‘Cape Town legend’ Steven Kitshoff square off for the first time

Dylan Coetzee
Split with Stormers prop Frans Malherbe and Ulster's Steven Kitshoff.

Split with Stormers prop Frans Malherbe and Ulster's Steven Kitshoff.

Former Stormers skipper Steven Kitshoff will make his return to Cape Town this weekend with Ulster as a mammoth battle with Frans Malherbe awaits.

Kitshoff is a legendary figure in the eyes of the Stormers as one of their most capped players of all time as well as being the only captain in the club’s history to lead the team to silverware, as he did in the inaugural United Rugby Championship.

A scrum battle for the ages

The two-time Rugby World Cup winner made the move to Ulster after the Springboks’ title win in France last year and will play against his former club for the first time in his career, which includes a mouth-watering battle with his good mate Malherbe.

The pair know each other extremely well from their time together for club and country but have not faced off in an official match. It is going to be fascinating to see how they fare.

Stormers assistant coach Labeeb Levy is excited about the battle and insists the team will welcome Kitshoff home until the game starts.

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“They’ve scrummed against each other twice a week for the last 14 years,” Levy said.

“I think it’s going to be interesting, because they know each other so well. They are big mates. He’s a very good scrummager, but so is Frans. We are looking forward to it.

“It’s actually exciting for us to see Kitsie back at home. He has been here since his school days, skipping the age-group rugby to go straight to playing for the Stormers. He is a legend of Cape Town and a household name.

Welcome Kitshoff home

“We will welcome him, but when the referee blows the whistle, it will be a different story. But we are really happy to welcome him back, and I’m sure there will be some tales to tell after the game.”

The Stormers will be looking to back up their win over Edinburgh with another against Ulster before the massive battle with La Rochelle in the Champions Cup round of 16.

They currently sit in fifth place in the URC standings while Ulster are seventh.

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