Although the cancellation of the Lions-Stomers match on Saturday robbed Pieter-Steph du Toit of a ‘farewell’ home appearance, there is still hope he could return to the Stormers after his Japan ‘sabbatical’.
A Rainbow Cup South Africa final round match against the Lions was called off after an unspecified number of players from the Johannesburg franchise contracted Covid-19.
Sources have now openly confirmed that the Springbok flank is set to leave the Stormers to play for Japanese club Toyota Verblitz, who are coached by former All Blacks coach Steve Hansen.
Interestingly, though, it appears this will be more of a ‘sabbatical’ from November 2021 to May 2022, rather than the two-year contract he was initially expected to sign.
What the 28-year-old, who has been capped 55 times by South Africa, intends doing after the short-term contract expires towards the middle of next year has not been disclosed.
However, SARugbymag.co.za understands that the Stormers are still hoping to negotiate his return to the Cape after his stint in Japan.
Du Toit is set to play for the Springboks against Georgia, the British & Irish Lions, in the Rugby Championship and on a tour of Europe before travelling to Japan in November.
Two other South Africans – fullback Willie le Roux and utility forward Jason Jenkins – are with the Japanese Top League outfit.
– Additional reporting by AFP