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VIDEO: Stormers recall loosehead prop as Kitshoff 'reunion' looms

SPOTLIGHT: The Stormers find themselves in a very complex scenario.

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They are in the middle of a loosehead crisis while their two-time World Cup-winning prop Steven Kitshoff returns to Cape Town this weekend.

Kitshoff, who captained the Stormers to the inaugural United Rugby Championship title in 2022 and last year’s Final, will go up against his former team sporting the Ulster jersey on Saturday.

The much-loved Springbok joined the Irish team following South Africa’s back-to-back World Cup triumph in October in France.

The Round 13 URC encounter between Stormers and Ulster will be the first time that Kitshoff will face his former side.

And to add more intrigue to the clash, he will go up against his Springbok teammate and good friend Frans Malherbe.

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“They’ve scrummed against each other twice a week for the last 14 years,” Stormers skills coach Labeeb Levy told reporters on Monday.

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“I think it’s going to be interesting because they know each other so well.

“They are big mates.

“He’s a very good scrummager, but so is Frans.

“We are looking forward to it.”

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Levy added that he is excited to see Kitshoff back at home, where he started his professional career in 2011.

“He has been here since his school days, skipping the age-group rugby to go straight to playing for the Stormers.

“He is a legend of Cape Town and a household name.

“We will welcome him, but when the referee blows the whistle, it will be a different story.

“But we are really happy to welcome him back and I’m sure there will be some tales to tell after the game.”

The solution… for now

While Malherbe will be eager to keep his mate busy, the Stormers have been hard at work finding a suitable player to hold it down at loosehead.

The latest injury setback of Lizo Gqoboka during the 43-21 win over Edinburgh on Saturday has put them in heaps of trouble.

Sti Sithole, Ali Vermaak and Kwenzo Blose are already on the sidelines due to injury.

Levy admitted they are in a race against time, but revealed that prop Leon Lyons has returned to Cape Town from the Griquas.

The 25-year-old, who has eight Stormers caps, has been on loan since December.

“We are still toying with some options,” Levy said when asked about the loosehead concerns.

“Leon Lyons landed this [Monday] morning from [Kimberley]. He is one of the options we have. He is quite keen and fit – looks like the immediate go-to person.”

“However, we are still speaking to various people and searching for who is available in the country and the world.”

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