Kitshoff also a breaker in Belfast

Henry

Ulster started the new year in the best possible way when they beat Leinster 22–21 in Dublin. It was only the Belfast men’s third win in 22 games at the RDS Arena.

One of the visitors’ stars is undoubtedly Steven Kitshoff and head coach Dan McFarland sang the Springbok prop’s praises.

“I think his general game – and not just his scrum – is one of his biggest strengths. He carries the ball excellently, he defends well and he is always a danger on the field,” said McFarland.

Ulster have now won three matches in a row – against Racing 92, Connacht and Leinster – but the team initially struggled.

Ulster lost against the Glasgow Warriors and Bath, among others, and it was almost a baptism of fire for Kitshoff when he reported to Belfast after the World Cup tournament.

“It’s definitely a wake-up call for me,” the 31-year-old forward told the Irish media at the time.

“But in the same breath I didn’t think for one moment that I was only going to win games with Ulster. As a player you have to be willing to work hard; especially when things don’t turn out right.”

Kitshoff undoubtedly put his hand in his own bosom and he came up with a cracking performance against Racing 92.

The World Cup winner then carried the ball ten times, beat two defenders instantly and was in the spot with all eight of his tackles.

Ulster won the game 31–15 and revival bells rang in Belfast.

“Steven is not afraid to speak honestly; if we need to work on something, he will point it out. He is a double World Cup winner and he led the Stormers to United Rugby Championship glory – he is definitely one of our top players,” concluded McFarland.