Kitshoff to lead Stormers against Bulls

Springbok prop Steven Kitshoff will take over the Stormers captaincy during Siya Kolisi’s injury-enforced absence. DYLAN JACK reports.

The Stormers are set to travel to Pretoria to face the Vodacom Bulls on Saturday and have been boosted by the return of two Springboks in Steven Kitshoff and Scarra Ntubeni.

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The duo sat out last Friday’s comeback win over the Pumas due to Covid-19 protocols, but they are expected to return to training on Wednesday, making them available for selection this weekend.

However, they could potentially be facing a problem at loose forward as captain Kolisi will miss the game after injuring his hamstring against the Pumas, while the availability of his replacement and understudy Nama Xaba is also in doubt.

As far as the leadership of the team goes, Stormers coach John Dobson confirmed on Monday that Kitshoff would be taking over the captaincy while Kolisi is on the sidelines. Kitshoff led the team earlier this year after Kolisi injured his knee in the Stormers’ Super Rugby opener against the Hurricanes in February.

‘It will be Kitsie. I appreciate the concern of him not being here on Monday and Tuesday, but he is a really good skipper,’ Dobson said. ‘He did a really good job before lockdown in Siya’s absence.

‘There is a high level of trust with him. He is really good with his detail. It will 100% be Steven who will skipper the side. We have some leadership options for later in the game if he comes off. Ernst van Rhyn did a good job on Friday and obviously Chris van Zyl.

‘[Kitshoff’s importance] can’t be understated. We were always going to start Leon Lyons against the Pumas because he would bring us some capacity if Steven got injured again.

‘Steven is arguably our most influential player. If you asked the coaches who you most want back or the guy you can least afford to lose, we would say Steven Kitshoff. He is arguably one of the best players I have ever coached in my life.

‘To have him back gives us a massive sense of security,’ Dobson added. ‘It is a really big boost for us.’

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Photo: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix

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