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CAPE TOWN: 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.
Steven Kitshoff, the vastly improved Stormers loosehead prop, has been named in the SA Under-20 squad that will 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 yesterday.
“So we’ll wait to 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 such as the sevens and junior outfits to have first call on players.
Prior to this, 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. “Deon has been part of our larger squad and 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Meanwhile, flanker Siya Kolisi, who was withdrawn shortly before their match against the Sharks last week, looks set to return to action against the Bulls. “Siya’s shoulder has improved a great deal and I’m positive about him playing,” Coetzee said.
Joe Pietersen is 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, who came into the side when Gio Aplon was moved out to fill in for Pietersen, did not have a happy outing and he is unlikely to turn out at his former home ground.
Coetzee said that, 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 into a wing position. Both tries were instances of individual brilliance. We’ll look at Joe when he comes back from the Bok camp in Durban.” – Sapa