Steven Kitshoff (Gallo Images)
- Steven Kitshoff is expected to captain the Stormers in Saturday’s Super Rugby Unlocked clash against the Bulls.
- Coach John Dobson has heaped praise on the Springbok prop.
- Dobson revealed that hooker Scarra Ntubeni, too, would be available for selection.
Springbok prop Steven Kitshoff is “arguably one of the best players I have ever coached”, according to Stormers boss John Dobson.
Kitshoff will captain the Stormers against the Bulls at Loftus on Saturday in Siya Kolisi’s absence with the regular skipper sidelined with a grade one calf strain and unavailable for “two to three weeks”.
There had been concern that Kitshoff, along with hooker Scarra Ntubeni, would be unavailable for the contest following a period of forced isolation that came as a result of being in contact with a player from the Lions who had tested positive for the coronavirus.
The news out of the Stormers camp on Monday, however, was that both Kitshoff and Ntubeni would return to training on Wednesday and that both would be available for what is shaping up to be a tantalising fixture against Jake White’s charges.
The Stormers do have other leadership options – lock Chris van Zyl has skippered before – but when addressing media on Monday Dobson’s praise for Kitshoff suggested that the decision was an easy one.
“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.”
Turning his attention to just how valuable a player Kitshoff was for the Stormers, Dobson revealed just how highly he rates the 28-year-old.
“It can’t be understated,” the coach said.
“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. It is a really big boost for us.”