Springbok star Pieter-Steph du Toit is just the fifth-best player in the world, according to a leading United Kingdom rugby scribe.
Writing for The Times, Owen Slot compiled his list of the 10 greatest players in the world right now, with only two World Cup-winning Springboks – Du Toit and star wing Cheslin Kolbe – making the cut.
Surprisingly, though, Slot has rated Du Toit, who is the current World Rugby Player of the Year, in fifth position behind English lock Maro Itoje.
All Blacks playmaker Beauden Barrett, France scrumhalf Antoine Dupont and Fiji wing Semi Radradra all fit in between the two locks.
Kolbe comes in at No 6, followed by New Zealand duo Brodie Retallick and Ardie Savea and England pair Kyle Sinckler and Tom Curry.
The Times‘ 10 best players:
1. Maro Itoje (England, lock)
2. Beauden Barrrett (New Zealand, flyhalf)
3. Antoine Dupont (France, halfback)
4. Semi Radradra (Fiji, wing)
5. Pieter-Steph du Toit (South Africa, flank)
6. Cheslin Kolbe (South Africa, wing)
7. Brodie Retallick (New Zealand, lock),
8. Ardie Savea (New Zealand, loose forward)
9. Kyle Sinckler (England, prop)
10. Tom Curry (England, loose forward)
Meanwhile, it has been reported that top French club Montpellier has tabled a three-year contract worth around R75 million to lure Du Toit to France.
Following that report, though, Montpellier moved to distance itself from the story.
‘Montpellier denies with the utmost firmness the alleged information stating that a contractual offer has been made to Pieter-Steph du Toit. The club is in no way engaged in any negotiation with this player. This act of disinformation only aims to harm the interests of the club, which is currently engaged in the safeguard of its structure.’
Yet, bear in mind that another phrase that normally accompanies this ‘silly season’ period is that ‘where there’s smoke, there’s fire’.
Besides SARugbymag.co.za receiving assurances that the original story was based on solid information, Stormers coach John Dobson told this website they were aware of the talk doing the rounds.
‘I’m not aware of any formal offer being made as yet, but we do have massive reservations at the moment that we can’t negotiate with our own players, and that’s obviously a frustration.’
Photo: World Rugby