CAPE TOWN – We all know that one player doesn’t make a team, but let’s be honest – whatever your team, there can be no doubt that it’ll be better with Pieter-Steph du Toit in it.
Unfortunately, though, it’s been a while since Du Toit’s name last graced a team sheet.
After starring in the 2019 World Cup final and being named World Rugby Player of the Year, Du Toit’s career took an unfortunate turn when he suffered what threatened to be a career-ending injury.
During the 2020 Super Rugby season, against the Blues at Newlands, the 28-year-old suffered a haematoma that developed into acute compartment syndrome, a rare injury that nearly cost him his leg.
He was initially ruled out for three months, with Stormers team doctor Jason Suter afterwards revealing that Du Toit’s situation is extremely rare and that there have only been 43 cases listed in literature.
Given the perpetual surgeries and delays in return dates, Du Toit’s career and comeback naturally attracted more doubt.
But now, after another injury (a minor one compared to his leg injury), he’s back at training and ready to get back onto the stage that he owns so well. And, for the Stormers (and the Springboks) it’s one of the best bits of news that’s surfaced in a while.
For the Cape side, Du Toit’s name this year came with the added positive of a bit of certainty regarding his future, which was one of the main talking points in recent months. While it was confirmed that he had agreed to a deal to remain with the Stormers and WP Rugby until the end of the British & Irish Lions tour this year, Du Toit has of course attracted overseas interest.
Earlier this week, while addressing the possibility of losing the likes of Du Toit and fellow World Cup-winner Bongi Mbonambi, Dobson said: “Our first goal is to keep the guys here, but we do have excellent plan B.
“I can say with my hand on my heart that nobody has told us yet that they are definitely leaving. We are 90% complete with our squad and if one or two decide to go, we have excellent replacements lined up over the next year.
“For the first time in a long time, CVS are coming to us. In the time that we have been on the training ground, we have received inquiries from three players, two of which are international players who want to play for the Stormers. Obviously, in that respect, we are heading in the right direction.”
Point is, regardless of the back-up plans, the Stormers have at their disposal, Du Toit is the real deal. And his return to the pitch will certainly be a stunning subplot to the Stormers’ story.
After all, after everything he’s produced, can we really expect anything else?