steven kitshoff arthritis
Springbok Prop Steven Kitshoff. Photo: Ulster Rugby

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Steven Kitshoff battles early arthritis

Steven Kitshoff’s knee injury may sideline him for June and July Springbok tests, impacting the team’s loosehead prop options.

20-05-24 10:16
steven kitshoff arthritis
Springbok Prop Steven Kitshoff. Photo: Ulster Rugby

Steven Kitshoff, the 32-year-old loosehead prop for the Springboks, may face a longer recovery period than initially anticipated due to his knee injury.

According to Rapport, it is highly unlikely that Kitshoff will be available for the June and July Springbok tests, which includes the series against Ireland.

This means he may only be available for the Tests in the Rugby Championship, with the Springboks’ campaign starting on 31 August against the All Blacks at Ellis Park.


Rapport’s information suggests that Kitshoff suffered chronic damage to the lateral compartment of his knee.

The injury, which occurred during the Challenge Cup quarter-final against Clermont on 13 April while playing for Ulster, is believed to be the start of early-arthritis in his knee.

Although the arthritis should not affect his career, Kitshoff’s training and playload will need to be carefully managed moving forward.


With Kitshoff likely to miss the first Test of the year against Wales on 22 June at Twickenham, Rassie Erasmus will have to rely on other loosehead props.

The Sharks’ Ox Nche and Ntuthuko Mchunu are available for selection, but the availability of the Bulls’ Gerhard Steenekamp remains uncertain, as the Test overlaps with the final of the United Rugby Championship.

Erasmus cannot consider overseas props like Bath’s Thomas du Toit for the Wales Test, as they fall outside World Rugby’s Test window.


Kitshoff’s injury is particularly troublesome considering the upcoming Tests against Ireland on 6 July and 13 in Pretoria and Durban.

The Somerset West native has played in 83 Tests since making his debut against Ireland on 25 June, 2016, at the age of 24.

He has started in 29 of those Tests, with only Frans Malherbe (57 Tests) having more starts among the current Springbok props.

Kitshoff also holds the South African record for most Tests as a substitute, with 54, followed closely by Trevor Nyakane with 49.


In other news, the Sharks camp is optimistic that some of their injured players, including Eben Etzebeth, Vincent Koch, and Lukhanyo Am, will recover in time for the Challenge Cup final against Gloucester on 24 May at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. All three players were injured during the match against Benetton last weekend.

As Steven Kitshoff prepares to begin his new contract with the Stormers on 1 July, the Springboks will need to adapt and find solutions to compensate for his absence during the upcoming Tests. The team’s depth and resilience will be put to the test as they face challenging opponents in the coming months.