REACTION: Stormers captain Steven Kitshoff was hit with a flood of emotions when the final whistle was blown in the United Rugby Championship Final.
The Capetonians were unable to defend the title they won last year as they went down 14-19 to a physical and highly motivated Munster side at Cape Town Stadium.
The Irish side completely dominated the first half, but John Dobson’s side showed some fight in the second half before Munster snatched victory with a Josh Hodnett try a few minutes before the end.
The match was Kitshoff’s last as a Stormers player before he heads to Ireland to join Ulster and the 31-year-old wished he could have had a better ending to this chapter in his career.
“When the final whistle blew it felt like it shouldn’t have happened like that,” said Kitshoff.
“I felt we were totally in control of the second half. It felt like we were on top of Munster.
“I think they were scrambling to try and keep us out of their tryline.
“When that final whistle went, I was trying to hold the tears back.
“I am extremely proud of what the guys achieved during the season.
“The result is very disappointing but the guys can hold their heads up and they can enjoy each other’s company.
“There were some true friendships that were built throughout the season and the guys really care for each other.
“For me, it is tough to leave this awesome union like this but the guys can be proud and they can look forward to next season.
“I am looking forward to playing the Stormers. I know it is going to be a tough game. I already made an agreement with Frans when I said we are both playing with multi-studs and we will look after each other on the field.
“I am proud of the Stormers and proud to be associated for so many years with such an awesome brand.”
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Kitshoff was replaced around the 71st minute with the crowd standing on their feet to applaud a player who has given so much to Western Province and the Stormers.
“It’s an incredible honour. This union has been amazing for me,” said the captain.
“The Stormers have been through dark times and good times. Just playing in front of 56 000 people was massive.
“Getting the cheer, I almost cried 10 minutes before the end of the game. Just seeing everyone stand up and acknowledge [me].
“If Dobbo wants me back one day, I will definitely come back. Whether that be as an old player or as a guy who just sits on the bench or just provides advice as a mentor.
“I am truly proud of this union and proud to be a part of such an amazing team.”