South African prop Steven Kitshoff set to leave Ulster at the end of the season

The 32-year-old double World Cup winner was initially signed on a three-year deal but will leave after one

Steven Kitshoff, Ulster’s two-time South African World Cup winner, is set to leave the province at the end of the season. The Irish Times understands that the Springboks’ loosehead prop and Ulster have come to a mutually agreed decision to end his contract after one season.

The 83-times capped 32-year-old was Ulster’s marquee signing on a three-year deal after the 2023 World Cup but although Kitshoff has played a dozen games and his form has been good, the two parties have agreed to part ways, seemingly for a myriad of reasons.

With a number of players being released at the end of the season, as well as Richie Murphy replacing Dan McFarland as head coach and chief executive Jonny Petrie moving on, agreeing to this decision with Kitshoff allows Ulster to potentially fill other holes in their squad.

Kitshoff has played every game of South Africa’s 14 World Cup matches in their successful 2019 and 2023 campaigns, developing from a member of their so-called Bomb Squad in the first of those triumphs to become the starting loosehead in France.


But the move to Ulster has seemingly proved draining for Kitshoff, who has been back and forth to South Africa to see his family, while Ulster are having to cut their cloth to suit their measure after a difficult two years commercially.

Gerry Thornley

Gerry Thornley

Gerry Thornley is Rugby Correspondent of The Irish Times