United Rugby Championship: Springboks prop Steven Kitshoff to join Ulster ‘with the Stormers’ blessing’
Stormers head coach John Dobson has no issues with South Africa loosehead prop Steven Kitshoff leaving the franchise for a more financially lucrative offer.
Reports are circling that a deal between the Springbok prop and Ulster is pretty much done and that he will join the Irish province after the 2023 Rugby World Cup.
Kitshoff still has two years left on his Stormers contract, with it running out in 2024, but the 30-year-old looks set for a move abroad.
Earned his spurs
“We will chat to him after the game on Friday,” Dobson told reporters. “Whether that’s on Friday night or Saturday.
“Kitsie is out of contract after the World Cup, he has more than earned his spurs and he has earned the credit to go where he wants to and where is right for him and his family.
“If that’s the case, that he is going to Ulster, then he goes with our blessing. He has respected his contract here and has put in so much on and off the field.
“Who knows, maybe after a couple of years with Ulster, he will be back here with us? He is an absolute bloke.”
Should the deal be completed, this will be Kitshoff’s second move overseas having played for Bordeaux-Begles between 2015 and 2017.
He joins a lengthy list of South Africans plying their trade outside of the country, a situation which frustrates Dobson.
“I must say, it’s pretty exhausting. The mindset of these [overseas] clubs, that South Africans or Fijians are fair game to have conversations with, it’s frustrating,” he said.
“We try to look after our own and bring through our own. It feels like we are on the back foot a lot of the time, fending off, especially if we do well. A case in point is Warrick Gelant.
“We focus on developing our own players and all the South African unions are like that. But once we do that, we have to deal with approaches for our players from elsewhere. It’s tiring, I will be honest with you.
“Every week, there’s a new player that somebody wants to chat to from overseas, whether they are in contract, out of contract, in or out of the window.
“But we continue to bring through our own players. We are very excited by this new generation of youngsters.”
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