Rugby World Cup 2023 Ox Nche

Ox Nche during Springbok training. Photo Steve Haag Sports / Backpagepix

Extra responsibility for Ox as Springbok season looms

Ox Nche looks set to have an increasingly crucial role to play for the Springboks after Steven Kitshoff picked up a serious injury.

Rugby World Cup 2023 Ox Nche

Ox Nche during Springbok training. Photo Steve Haag Sports / Backpagepix

In news that will not have escaped the attention of the Springbok coaching staff, or fans, Irish club Ulster have confirmed that Springbok prop Steven Kitshoff will return to South Africa after suffering a season-ending knee injury.

Kitshoff suffered the injury during Ulster’s Challenge Cup quarter-final against Clermont, and after undergoing a scan, a specialist has ruled him out of the rest of the URC campaign.

The two-time World Cup winner will now consult with a knee specialist in South Africa over a treatment plan, but the nature of the injury will certainly set alarm bells ringing.

The Springbok coaches will now wait with bated breath to see if Kitshoff will recover in time for the Springboks’ Test series against Six Nations champions Ireland in July.

Ox Nche next in line for Springboks

If Kitshoff is ruled out for an extended period of time, the starting role at loosehead prop would almost certainly fall to Ox Nche.

The powerful forward dovetailed brilliantly with Kitshoff at last year’s World Cup, but he could now have a huge role to play considering the Springboks don’t have all that much depth at loosehead.

Versatile players such as Trevor Nyakane and Thomas du Toit can offer other options, while it could also open the door for the Bulls’ Gerhard Steenekamp.

Kitshoff now effectively a Stormers player once again

The injury brings Kitshoff’s one-season stint with Ulster to a premature end, as he will re-join the Stormers next season.

“It is no secret what Cape Town and the Stormers team mean to me, so to be able to return home is incredibly exciting,” he told the Stormers website.

“I’d like to thank Ulster for a fantastic experience in Belfast and their understanding through this whole process. We still have a lot to do together this season.

“From next season I’ll be doing all I can to add value for the DHL Stormers and hopefully be part of something special once again with my friends and family alongside me,” he said.