Springboks star set for shock Stormers homecoming – report

David Skippers
Ulster front-row Steven Kitshoff leaves the field.

Ulster front-row Steven Kitshoff leaves the field.

Springboks and Ulster loosehead prop Steven Kitshoff is set to leave the province earlier than expected to return to the Stormers, according to a media report in South Africa.

Afrikaans newspaper Rapport reports that Kitshoff, who captained the Stormers when they were crowned champions of the inaugural United Rugby Championship (URC) in 2022, is poised to head back to his former side, who had a huge cash injection from their equity partner, Red Disa, recently.

Seen with Stormers boss

According to Rapport, Stormers boss John Dobson and Kitshoff were seen together at a restaurant in the Cape recently – ahead of Ulster’s clash with the Stormers – where the possibility of an early return to the Stormers for the two-time Rugby World Cup winner was discussed.

Kitshoff joined Ulster ahead of the 2023/24 campaign on a three-year contract, after the Stormers lost the 2022/23 URC final to Munster, but the prop is now set to move back to his former club after just one season at his new side.

The environment for negotiating Kitshoff’s departure from Ulster is favourable as there are huge changes taking place at the Belfast-based outfit. Ulster parted ways with their head coach, Dan McFarland, last month and their chief executive, Jonny Petrie, resigned last week.

An impeccable source told Rapport that the Stormers would welcome Kitshoff back with open arms.

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“The agreement was always that he would come back at some stage – the when is the factor,” said this source.

The 32-year-old’s return would be a massive boost for the men from the Cape, who are currently experiencing a loosehead prop crisis with Lizo Gqoboka, Sti Sithole, Ali Vermaak and Kwenzo Blose all injured at the moment.

Another thing which counts in the Stormers’ favour to bring Kitshoff back is his success at Test level for South Africa.

That means the Stormers will be in a position to ask SA Rugby about the governing body’s possible financial contribution to get the experienced front-row back to the Cape as soon as possible.

Experienced Springbok

Kitshoff made his international debut against Ireland in 2016 and was a key member of their World Cup-winning squads in 2019 and 2023, making 83 Test appearances to date.

He spent most of his professional career in South Africa where he attained early success as part of the Western Province team that won the 2012 Currie Cup and also had an overseas spell in France with Bordeaux-Bégles from 2015 to 2017.

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