Du Toit closing in on return to play

Pieter-Steph du Toit has recovered from his long-term thigh injury but his return to the field for the Stormers has been delayed by a nose injury. DYLAN JACK reports. 

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.

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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 on track to return for the PRO14 Rainbow Cup tournament.

Speaking during a media conference on Monday, Stormers coach John Dobson gave a positive update on the World Cup winner’s fitness situation.

Dobson said that Du Toit was meant to be playing as early as next weekend’s match against the Lions in Cape Town, but he took a knock to his nose during a training session.

‘What I do know, is that Pieter will be back on the field soon,’ Dobson said. ‘Unfortunately, it won’t be next week, because he has injured his nose. But he will be a very important part of our plans for the Rainbow Cup.

‘As an athlete, he is a freak of nature. He could be back and dominating the Rainbow Cup in a couple of weeks’ time. When he started training here, after 11-and-a-half months out, he was absolutely extraordinary. The delay now has nothing to do with his leg. He got a knock on his nose in a tackling drill.’

Du Toit has been linked with a move to Japan and while Dobson said there has been nothing official in that regard, he added that if the loose forward does decide to move, he will go with their blessing.

‘What has caused a bit of upset is that he should have played next week against the Lions. We would have all known where he stood and he would have known where he stood.

‘When he gets this massive offer from Japan, which is a different level of rugby, frankly from our side he would be ill-advised not to consider it. The amounts there for a World Rugby Player of the Year are stratospheric, I would imagine. We can’t compete on that level. If he does accept an offer, he will go with all our blessings. We have a tight group and the guys accept each other with no resentment whatsoever.’

Photo: Shaun Roy/Gallo Images

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Dylan Jack