Has Springbok forward Pieter-Steph du Toit added an extra yard of pace to his already considerable all-round attributes? CRAIG LEWIS takes a closer look.
It wasn’t that long ago when there was some serious uncertainty over whether Du Toit was best suited to playing at lock or flank. In fact, there’s little doubt that he would have become rather tired of answering this ever-predictable question at numerous media conferences: ‘Which position do you prefer?’
For a long time, Du Toit would hint that he didn’t have much of a preference, but in more recent times, he has made it clear that he is far happier at flank.
In 2018, the powerful forward started four Tests at lock, but eight at flank, where his impact has been nothing short of immense. The Stormers stalwart was understandably named the SA Rugby Player of the Year for 2018, grabbing the accolade for the second time in three years.
What’s stood out about Du Toit over the last couple of years is his insatiable work rate, with the hulking forward boasting a V12 engine that fires on all cylinders for the full 80 minutes.
More often than not, the 26-year-old emerges as the leading tackler in the Bok team, and this past Saturday, he duly completed nine tackles while also winning a turnover in a memorable victory over the Wallabies at Ellis Park.
In addition, he made six carries and 36m. Most of those metres were racked up in a beautiful break executed just after the quarter-hour mark, with Du Toit producing a burst of pace to signify his supreme conditioning.
As can be seen below, Du Toit ran a superb line, but also displayed a surprisingly impressive turn of pace, before delivering a cheeky chip ahead that found Herschel Jantjies and eventually ended in a try.
Looking from another angle, you gain an even better sense of Du Toit in full flight, while he continues to follow up his chip and complete an important clean pass after bumping a trailing defender out of his way.
All in all, it’s pretty daunting for the opposition to see that Du Toit is looking fit, in form and boasting a little extra speed that clearly shows the work he has done on refining his conditioning and mobility to suit his newfound comfort in the back row.