With Pieter-Steph du Toit committing to remain in South Africa, we bring you this snippet from the latest SA Rugby magazine, which outlines his new appreciation for the game.
On Thursday, ongoing speculation around Du Toit’s future finally ended when it was confirmed the World Rugby Player of the Year had agreed to a deal that will keep him with the Stormers and WP Rugby until the end of the British & Irish Lions tour next year.
Du Toit features on the cover of our latest magazine, and opens up on recovering from a career-threatening injury, while also explaining how the time in lockdown has reminded him why – in spite of all his success with the Springboks – he should cherish every game as if it’s his last.
‘I’ve had to deal with a few big setbacks in my career, but none have been so complicated and potentially life-changing,’ he says. ‘The reality is that I could have lost my leg. I have a long scar to remind me about the incident. For a while after it happened, the wound had to remain open to allow the swelling to subside.
‘I got a fright the first time I saw it. It wasn’t a great experience, looking at that all day, as you may imagine. At the same time, I had to be grateful when I heard that I would eventually recover and regain use of my leg. There’s a lot more to life than rugby.’
Time away from the game and his Stormers teammates have also made him realise how much he misses the game. When he returns, he intends to make every second count.
‘None of us is going to play rugby forever,’ he says. ‘We realise that when we suffer serious injuries. The lockdown period has also forced us to think about what we would do tomorrow if the rest of the season was cancelled or if we couldn’t play again.
‘A lot of people will come out on the other side with a new mindset,’ he continues. ‘Nobody will take anything for granted ever again. If the coach tells us to do something at training, we’re going to go above and beyond. We’re going to train harder than ever before and play every game as if it’s our last. Why? Because this whole experience has shown us how it can all be taken away.’
*The full interview with Du Toit features in the latest issue of SA Rugby magazine, now on sale.