As with any season, a host of South African players have been linked with moves away from their Super Rugby franchises for stints in Europe over the last few months.
That has only been exacerbated by the fact it’s a Rugby World Cup year, not to mention Rassie Erasmus’ willingness to select players based abroad regardless of the number of caps they have, and the combination of these two factors have prompted a number of players to look for more lucrative contracts abroad for the 2019/20 campaign.
Robert du Preez and Akker van der Merwe have both already agreed to sign for Sale Sharks, Stephan Lewies is off to Harlequins and Eben Etzebeth will link up with Toulon, with more signings expected to be confirmed shortly, with the likes of RG Snyman, Malcolm Marx and Dan and Jean-Luc du Preez all heavily linked with contracts in Europe.
According to a report in Rapport, the 37-times capped Springbok could be set to rebuke Gallagher Premiership interest and instead sign a R2.5m (£130,000) extension with the Stormers, as part of South African rugby’s new contracting model.
The 27-year-old has already had a stint abroad, spending two years with Bordeaux Bègles between 2015 and 2017, with the move helping to spark a rejuvenation in his career. He made his bow for the Springboks in 2016 and went on to make 18-straight appearances as the back-up to Tendai Mtawarira. Since he returned to South Africa in 2017, he has found himself in a fierce position battle for the starter’s spot with Mtawarira and he has been among the leading players in the world at his position.
Sale Sharks have been one of the sides keen to significantly bolster their squad this summer and it was understood that Kitshoff was high on their list of priorities, so this news will come as a blow to the side from the north-west, who have already added du Preez and van der Merwe ahead of next season, but who are keen to bolster their tight five.
Watch: Rassie Erasmus talks about the new contracting model in South African rugby
Sign up to our mailing list here and we’ll keep you up to the minute with weekly updates from the world of rugby.