Breaking: Stormers hold onto Springbok
NEWS: Experienced prop Steven Kitshoff has signed a three-year contract extension with Western Province Professional Rugby (WPPR) and has been appointed Stormers captain.
The World Cup-winner is no stranger to the role, having captained the Stormers regularly over the last year and, going forward, he will be supported by new vice-captain, Salmaan Moerat.
Kitshoff made his Stormers debut in 2012 as a fresh-faced 19-year-old and has since accumulated 101 caps for the team he grew up supporting.
His vice-captain, Moerat, also has extensive leadership experience, although still only 23, having captained SA Schools, the Junior Springboks and Western Province U19 before leading the Stormers in two of their preparation matches this year.
Moerat is one of a number of players who are still under contract with WPPR until at least 2022, along with the likes of Herschel Jantjies, Warrick Gelant, Ruhan Nel, Sergeal Petersen, Marcel Theunissen, David Meihuizen and Rikus Pretorius.
Kitshoff’s extension comes on the back of key players such as Damian Willemse, Scarra Ntubeni, Frans Malherbe, Seabelo Senatla, Neethling Fouche, Sazi Sandi, Leon Lyons, Nama Xaba, Kwenzo Blose and Evan Roos all committing their future to WPPR.
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Stormers Head Coach John Dobson said that having a player of Kitshoff’s stature commit his future and lead the team, while ably supported by Moerat is hugely significant.
“Steven is a world-class player on top of his game who has the respect of everyone in the rugby world. To have a person of his calibre and deep connection to this team as our talisman going forward is immense.
“Both Steven and Salmaan are proud products of our youth system and are inspirational figures both in our squad and for our faithful supporters. Their decision to remain with the Stormers is testimony to the good developmental work that has been carried out over the decades. We look forward to continue building off the rock-solid foundation they will provide for our team,” he said.
WPPR Chairman Ebrahim Rasool said that leaders such as Kitshoff and Moerat will play an instrumental role in the further development of the squad and vision for the future.
“We have managed to assemble a formidable squad ahead of the upcoming Rainbow Cup and to have leaders such as Steven and Salmaan at the helm fills us with even more enthusiasm and optimism for the future.
“Both players are proud products of this region and are natural leaders who inspire those around them, we look forward to seeing where they can take us and our faithful supporters,” he said.