Cape Town — Steven Kitshoff is such a warrior of the Stormers side that he wants to make a contribution to the team even when he’s leave.
The Cape side’s captain said this week that he will go on a four-week break with some of the other Springboks in a Rugby World Cup year following Saturday night’s Champions Cup clash against Clermont Auvergne at Cape Town Stadium (7.30pm).
The Bok loosehead prop added that he may join in on some Zoom meetings while he is away, but coach John Dobson quickly stepped in and said that won’t happen.
Kitshoff needs to recharge his batteries for the Champions Cup playoffs and the latter stages of the United Rugby Championship season, and then get himself ready for the Bok World Cup campaign.
But this Stormers campaign means a lot more, as he is joining Ulster in Belfast next season, and wants to sign off in the best possible way.
Before that, though, he needs to help ensure that the Capetonians secure a home last-16 Champions Cup berth by beating Clermont.
Clermont fired coach Jono Gibbes at the weekend following a 44-29 loss to Saracens, and will be keen to make a statement of intent at the Cape Town Stadium.
The Stormers, though, regained some confidence by beating London Irish 28-14 last week after losing to Glasgow, and Kitshoff expects his team to feed off that energy in front of their home fans.
Dobson made a couple of changes yesterday, calling on young flyhalf Kade Wolhuter in place of the concussed Manie Libbok, while Stefan Ungerer gets a chance at scrumhalf.
Willie Engelbrecht will add a hard edge at blindside flank, with Junior Pokomela also out with concussion, while star No 8 Evan Roos and Bok scrumhalf Herschel Jantjies return from rib injuries on the bench.
Meanwhile, the Stormers moved quickly to solve their lock crisis yesterday by announcing the signing of former Sharks star Ruben van Heerden on a short-term contract.
The 25-year-old Van Heerden joins the Cape side from English club Exeter Chiefs with immediate effect, and will be part of the squad from this week – although he won’t feature against Clermont.
15 Damian Willemse 14 Suleiman Hartzenberg 13 Ruhan Nel 12 Dan du Plessis 11 Angelo Davids 10 Kade Wolhuter 9 Stefan Ungerer 8 Hacjivah Dayimani 7 Willie Engelbrecht 6 Deon Fourie 5 Marvin Orie 4 Connor Evans 3 Neethling Fouche 2 Joseph Dweba 1 Steven Kitshoff (captain).
Bench: 16 JJ Kotze 17 Ali Vermaak 18 Brok Harris 19 Ben-Jason Dixon 20 Evan Roos 21 Herschel Jantjies 22 Jean-Luc du Plessis 23 Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu.