Steven Kitshoff: Why I'm heading back to SA
Cape Town - Springbok prop Steven Kitshoff has explained why he opted to return to play his rugby in South Africa.
Kitshoff, 25, has represented French club Bordeaux Begles since 2015 but he will return to South Africa after the conclusion of the current European season.
He has agreed to a national contract and it is believed that WP Rugby assisted SA Rugby in securing the prop forward’s signature.
SA Rugby recently announced a new overseas-based player policy which states that only overseas-based Springboks with more than 30 Test caps will be eligible for selection in future.
The new policy starts on July 1, but the Bok coach would still be able to select whoever he wants in a World Cup year.
In an exclusive interview with Sport24, Kitshoff - who boasts 10 Test caps - said the new policy was not the reason he was returning to South Africa.
“I had actually made my decision to come back to South Africa before SA Rugby went public with the 30-cap policy,” he said. “I decided directly after the Springboks’ end-of-year-tour in 2016 that I wanted to head back. Returning to play my rugby in South Africa was always at the back of my mind and it was my intention to make it a short stint overseas because my main goal has always been to play for the Springboks.”
Kitshoff has now set his sights on a long international career.
“I will always believe that playing for the Springboks is the biggest dream for South African boys and it will be my dream to play for the Boks until the day I retire,” he continued.
“When the 30-cap rule for foreign-based players was announced by SA Rugby it was evident for me that I had made the correct decision. I would like to thank my agent and all the people who did the hard work behind the scenes in order to make this deal happen.
“Offering national contracts is a great way of keeping young talent in South Africa. Higher match fees and win bonuses can also go towards convincing players to stay in the country. I’m very thankful that the Stormers were willing to take me back. Cape Town is my home and it’s so much easier playing for a team I already have a history with.
“I’m looking forward to heading back to the Mother City at the conclusion of the European season and having another crack at playing for the Springboks. However, before my contract expires in June, I’ve got a few matches left to play for Bordeaux and want to leave France with a great impression. We are really determined to end the season on a high.”