Stormers forwards coach Rito Hlungwani says flank Pieter-Steph du Toit is champing at the bit to get back on the field in their Rainbow Cup derby against the Sharks on Saturday.
Du Toit was set to return from a long-term leg injury during the Stormers’ pre-season Preparation Series fixtures, but that was delayed after he sustained a nose injury during a training session.
The 2019 World Rugby and SA Rugby Player of the Year missed most of 2020 after suffering a serious thigh injury, which required multiple surgeries and threatened to prematurely end his career.
The injury nearly cost Du Toit his leg as the haematoma quickly developed into acute compartment syndrome, which could have led to amputation if not treated quickly enough.
However, Du Toit has been back in training and running without any complications since last month and is expected to be named in the Stormers squad to take on the Sharks in the first Rainbow Cup match in Cape Town on Saturday afternoon.
‘Pieter-Steph is fit and has been training really well,’ forwards coach Hlungwani said. ‘He hasn’t played in a long time and would love to play on Saturday, he is really eager to get going.
‘As we all know he is a player with a big engine, he is a really hard worker who has so many different attributes.’
The Stormers will be without Juarno Augustus for the match, which will provide either Evan Roos or Willie Englebrecht an opportunity to show what they can do. Roos recently signed a permanent deal with Western Province Rugby after joining on an initial loan from the Sharks, while Engelbrecht is on loan from the Pumas.
There will also be a decision to make at openside, where both Nama Xaba and Marcel Theunissen have played since the departure of Siya Kolisi to the Sharks.
‘If our plans come together we will definitely have a much-better balance to our loose trio than we had before, with Nama being the perfect fetcher who can get Pieter-Steph to play off him and with another good ball-carrier such as Evan Roos or Willie Engelbrecht at No 8,’ Hlungwani said.
‘Willie has trained really well and as we have all seen what a great threat he can be when playing us, it is great to have him on our side. He is a strong ball-carrier who does well at executing opportunities that are presented to him and we are expecting him to do well for us, he’s certainly shown us that he is what we thought he was when he has trained with us.’
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