The curious case of Steven Kitshoff
IN THE SPOTLIGHT: The Stormers will have the luxury of having prop Steven Kitshoff available for their final three league phase games of Super Rugby, but probably not for the play-offs.
Kitshoff is back with the Cape side after playing for French club Bordeaux-Begles since 2015. The 25-year-old was also part of the Springbok squad that notched up a 3-0 Test series victory against France.
While his return to the Cape is good news for Robbie Fleck, he is unlikely to qualify for the Super Rugby play-offs.
As he was still playing in France, Kitshoff was not in the Stormers' original Super Rugby squad for the 2017 season. The Stormers' next three games against the Cheetahs (Bloemfontein, Sunwolves (Cape Town) and the Bulls (Pretoria) will also not be enough for him to qualify for the play-offs.
"Kitshoff is available," Fleck told reporters at the team's base in Bellville. "When it comes to quarterfinals and semifinals that is something that we have to look at."
"There are ways that he can play, but at the moment he is certainly available for selection for the next three games."
Fleck added: "If there is a huge amount of injuries in one certain position, you can always advocate for somebody to come in."
Kitshoff could give Fleck a few selection headaches over the next few weeks due to the problem surrounding his qualification for the play-offs.
"You have to weigh those options up. Obviously, you want to be playing the players that are going to be in the quarters.
"Our focus right now is to get back on track. We had a long break now and our focus has got to be on the Cheetahs and we will select the best possible side for that game. If that includes Kitshoff then it does.
"We need to get our campaign back on track and there are certain challenges, which is the same for every other team.
"We were missing 14 players over the June period now and we need to get them back on track with the way we want to play and to set some goals for them.
"We will select the best possible side this week in order to go and win in Bloem," said Fleck.
By Warren Fortune