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Deal confirmed for Springboks prop Kitshoff to join Irish province

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Springboks loosehead Steven Kitshoff has confirmed his next move, agreeing to join the Irish province Ulster on a three-year deal from the Stormers following the end of the 2023 Rugby World Cup in France. The loosehead spent last week in Ireland, playing for his country in last Saturday’s 16-19 Test loss in Dublin, and that visit has coincided with him signing off on the deal that will bring him back to Belfast this time next year.


The much-speculated signing was criticised in some quarters of the Irish media when it first emerged last month that a deal was in the pipeline, the concern being that the arrival of the 30-year-old could cause a blockage in the development of young Irish props.

However, Ulster boss Dan McFarland has dismissed that anxiety, stressing that the opposite will be the case as young Irish front-rowers will instead greatly benefit from the addition of Kitshoff. “We are excited that a player of Steven’s quality has chosen to be part of the journey we are on as a club,” said McFarland.

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“As one of the best players in his position in the game right now, he will bring a world-class edge to our front row which will benefit our squad now, and in the development of our younger players as they come through the Ulster system.

“His set-piece excellence and the physical edge to his play will, together with his winning mindset, be a real asset to us when he joins us next season, and we look forward to welcoming him to the province.”


Kitshoff added: “It’s clear that Ulster is on an exciting journey and it’s one that I want to be a part of. With some big wins recently, it’s my ambition to be part of the squad that takes that next step and secures silverware for the province. I’m really looking forward to making the move to Belfast next year.


“It’s going to be a change, but I know from everything I have heard that when I line out for the first time in front of a home crowd at Kingspan Stadium in an Ulster jersey, it’s going to be a really special moment.”

Ulster last month brought in Scotland loosehead Rory Sutherland on a deal through to the end of the current season after his contract was voided when Worcester financially collapsed in England.


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