Stormers, Baby Boks in Kitshoff standoff

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iol spt may28 Kitshoff Getty Images Steven Kitshoff (right) of the Stormers.

The Kitshoff tug-of-war between the Stormers and the Baby Boks is heating up ahead of Saturday's crunch Super Rugby clash at Loftus.

The vastly-improved Stormers loosehead prop, Steven Kitshoff, has been named in the SA Under-20 squad that will be compete in next week's IRB Junior World Championships in Cape Town.

In terms of the SA Rugby Union's (Saru) latest regulations, the Baby Boks have first call on the player's services but the Stormers are keen to broker a way for him to play against the Bulls.

“The CEO of the Stormers is currently still in discussions with Saru on the matter,” Stormers coach Allister Coetzee said on Monday.

“So we'll wait and see what the outcome will be.”

Coetzee said he was taken by surprise a few days ago when the rules were changed to allow national teams like the sevens and junior outfits to have first call on players.

Prior to this change, Coetzee said he and the Baby Boks' manager, Dawie Theron, had discussed ways of easing Kitshoff's workload in a way that would benefit both teams.

The Baby Boks play their first match next Monday evening and if Kitshoff turns out for the Stormers, he will play two matches in the space of three days.

In the event of Kitshoff being declared off limits for the Stormers, former Springbok Deon Carstens is his likely replacement.

“A player like Deon Carstens has been part of our larger squad and has been on tour with us,” Coetzee said.

“We also have Wicus Blaauw who has played there before.”

Meanwhile, flanker Siya Kolisi, who was withdrawn shortly before their match against the Sharks last week, was certain to return to action against the Bulls.

“Siya's shoulder has improved a great deal and I'm very positive about him playing this weekend,” Coetzee said.

“The latest test showed that he has recovered a lot. The scar tissue has settled nicely and so has the inflammation.

“ I’m 99 percent sure he’ll be ready for this weekend.”

Joe Pietersen was also likely to make the trip to Pretoria. The fullback was laid low by injury last week, and his absence caused the Stormers to reshuffle their three-quarters.

Gerhard van den Heever, however, who came into the side when Gio Aplon was moved out to fill in for Pietersen, did not have a happy outing and he was unlikely to turn out at his former home ground.

Coetzee said with Pietersen at fullback, Aplon would return to the wing in an effort to bolster the Stormers' strike out wide.

“It was interesting to note that both Aplon's tries came when he had moved in to a wing position,” Coetzee said.

“Both instances were pieces of individual brilliance.

“We'll look at Joe when he comes back from the Bok camp in Durban and by Tuesday we'll have a clearer picture.” – Sapa


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