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Bok prop Steven Kitshoff to join Ulster - report

By Ian Cameron
Springboks prop Steven Kitshoff. (Photo by Jono Searle/Getty Images)

Fresh after securing the signature of British & Irish Lions prop Rory Sutherland, it is being reported that World Cup winner Steven Kitshoff is set to join the Irish province.

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Ulster hinted at the move in a statement on Saturday, but pulled up short of naming Kitshoff as the player in question, stating: “Negotiations are at an advanced phase with a player that is a proven winner on the biggest stage, who will join the province next season on a three-year deal following Rugby World Cup 2023.”

Now respected rugby sage Gerry Thornley, writing in The Irish Times, has confirmed that the Springbok loosehead is the prop in question.

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While Sutherland’s debut for Ulster is imminent, Kitshoff won’t roll into the Ravenhill until after the Rugby World Cup in France next year.

A powerful scrummager, Kitshoff (6′, 120kg) has been a mainstay of the Springboks’ pack for years and has amassed over 50 caps for the World Champions. He played over 60 games of the Stormers and has enjoyed a stint at Bordeaux Begles in the Top 14.

One thing is clear, post-France 2023, the competition at loosehead could be fierce, at least if the Worcester evacuee Sutherland stays for more than a short-term deal.

Head Coach, Dan McFarland, said of the two massive signings: “We have an exciting stable of young Irish-qualified props at Ulster, so to be able to support their development alongside some world class operators is great news for everyone associated with Ulster and Irish rugby.

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“As a club that is intent on consistently competing for championships, we’re always looking to add to and improve our squad – this includes recruiting players to be a part of the Ulster Rugby family, but most importantly to support and drive the development of young players within our pathway.

“We look forward to welcoming Rory into the squad next week and making further announcements on our recruitment for next season very soon.”

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