Pieter-Steph du Toit was the standout forward for the Stormers in the first seven rounds of the Vodacom Super Rugby tournament, writes JON CARDINELLI.
Du Toit broke down in the fixture against the Blues more than two weeks ago. It’s since been confirmed that the World Rugby Player of the Year sustained a freakish injury and, following multiple surgeries, will not be available to the Stormers for the next three months.
It remains to be seen whether the Stormers will play any further rugby in 2020. While there are plans to rejig the Super Rugby tournament so that the teams in Australia, New Zealand and South Africa compete within their respective countries, no rugby will take place until the ban on mass gatherings is lifted.
The Stormers have produced a mixed bag in 2020. They began the season in impressive fashion and won four games in succession. The loss to the Blues at Newlands, however, marked the beginning of their slide. They were well beaten in their most recent clash with the Sharks at Kings Park.
There were fears that the Springboks would fail to live up to the standards witnessed at the 2019 World Cup in the early stages of the 2020 Super Rugby competition. Du Toit and many others managed to prove the doubters wrong by delivering a series of impressive showings.
The 2019 World Rugby Player of the Year was outstanding for the Stormers in the first five rounds. His work rate on defence and attack often set the tone for the Cape franchise, and undoubtedly contributed to big wins over the Hurricanes, Vodacom Bulls, Lions and Jaguares.
The stats tell a story. What one needs to bear in mind, of course, is that Du Toit only featured in five of the seven rounds due to the fact that he was injured in the clash with the Blues.
Du Toit was a giant for the Boks on defence last season. In the five games he played for the Stormers this year, Du Toit cast himself about the park to make 66 tackles. No Stormers player made more, although the likes of Salmaan Moerat should be applauded for a similar work rate at the tackle.
Steven Kitshoff and Du Toit were often used as ball-carriers. The flank averaged nearly five metres per carry, which is impressive considering he was often called upon to pick and drive from close quarters.
His prowess as a lineout forward was illustrated by the fact that he won 14 off the Stormers’ feed. By the end of round seven, Moerat had equalled Du Toit’s tally as the most successful Stormers lineout forward.
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