Sale Sharks have failed in their bid to sign Springbok prop Steven Kitshoff after the Stormers put together package worth nearly R3m more a season for the player to stay in South Africa.
RugbyPass understands the Sale deal for Kitshoff forced the Stormers to come up with a counter offer which involved finding extra financial help to top up the South African Rugby Union contract and this amounted to £150,000 (R2.8m) more than the £500,000 a-year the Gallagher Premiership outfit were reportedly paying.
This is the first significant impact of South Africa RU’s decision to try and stem the tide of high profile players heading out of the country after the World Cup in Japan, but while Kitshoff and fellow Springbok Pieter-Steph du Toit are remaining lock Eben Etzebeth looks set to leave for big spending Toulon.
Continue reading below…
You may also like: Sharks presser ahead of Lions showdown
Afrikaans newspaper Rapport reported that WP Rugby’s decision confirm the appointment of John Dobson as the Stormers coach for 2020 was another key factor in Kitshoff staying allied to the financial assistance from “another party “ and the SARU money to fund the loose head prop’s new contract.
Kitshoff is believed to be one of the Springboks who will receive R2.5 million as part of SA Rugby’s new player contracting model. That followed reports that the highly rated Kitshoff was likely to spend five seasons overseas after the Rugby World Cup and that it would cost R60m to keep him at home.
The 27-year-old, who has 37 Springbok caps has previously played for Bordeaux in France, before returning to Western Province and the Stormers in 2017. It is expected the Stormers will also hold onto Springbok tighthead Frans Malherbe, however, after this year’s Rugby World Cup.
While Sale have missed out on Kitshoff they will bolster their South African contingent with the arrival of brothers Rob, Jean-Luc and Dan du Preez from the Sharks following the end of the Super Rugby season. Steve Diamond, the Sale director of rugby, has seen his team reach the European Challenge Cup semi-finals and push for a top four finish in the Premiership but is determined to bolster his forward pack for next season by bringing in World class talent from South Africa.
Sign up to our mailing list for a weekly digest from the wide world of rugby.Sign Up Now