Cape Town - The Stormers have been dealt a massive blow with the news that loosehead prop Steven Kitshoff won't be available for their Super Rugby clash against the Bulls at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.
According to Die Burger
, Kitshoff on Monday joined the SA under-20 squad that will be competing 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 were keen for him to play against the Bulls.
The Stormers tried to negotiate the issue with SARU on Monday but their attempts proved unsuccessful.
And Stormers coach Allister Coetzee
is understandably upset, especially ahead of a huge derby against their arch-rivals which could determine their playoff fate.
He feels Kitshoff will now miss out on an opportunity to prove himself against a player of senior Springbok calibre.
"Werner Kruger (Bulls tighthead) could possibly play at tighthead for the Springboks. It would have been a good opportunity for him (Kitshoff) to meet him against a player of that quality.
"We've lost a quality player. It's nice to see the young guys prove themselves against the best. Saturday's game is important for us and the Bulls but there's nothing we can do about it. The rule states that he must play for the under-20 team. We accept it as such," said Coetzee.
Prior to this change bu SARU, Coetzee said he and the Baby Boks coach, Dawie Theron, had discussed ways of easing Kitshoff's workload in a way that would benefit both teams.
"The plan was that he would start for us and be managed in a way that would be beneficial for both parties. He would have missed the under-20 team's match against Ireland, but would have played the rest of the tournament.
"If the Baby Boks made the final we would have given him a rest afterwards," said Coetzee.
The Baby Boks play their first match next Monday evening, with the tournament concluding on June 22.
Theron didn't want to comment about his and Coetzee's earlier arrangement.
"I'm here to prepare a team to win the Junior World Cup on home soil with the players SARU has given me.
"The Super Rugby players are now training with us. Steven Kitshoff, Ruan Botha, Pieter-Steph du Toit and Paul Jordaan are all here," said Theron.
Sharks coach John Plumtree was also keen to use centre Jordaan for their clash against the Lions in Johannesburg this weekend.