John Dobson says Pieter-Steph du Toit has not yet received an official offer from any Japanese team and will be with the Stormers until the end of October. DYLAN JACK reports.
According to Sunday newspaper Rapport, Du Toit could possibly finalise a two-year deal with Toyota Verblitz as early as this week.
This comes after a difficult 2020 for the World Cup winner, during which he suffered a serious thigh injury which required multiple surgeries and threatened to prematurely end his career.
Du Toit also unwittingly found himself featured in headline stories that surrounded a unique ‘transfer window’ that SA Rugby enforced to allow players to cancel local contracts in favour of overseas deals if they so wished.
That ongoing speculation around Du Toit’s future was finally ended in May 2020 when it was confirmed that he had agreed to a deal to remain with the Stormers and WP Rugby until the end of the British & Irish Lions tour this year.
Speaking during a Stormers media conference this week, Dobson revealed that Du Toit has yet to receive an offer and they hope to restart negotiations with him this week.
‘In terms of Pieter-Steph, we have got nothing official,’ Dobson said. ‘People need to understand that when it comes to Japan, the money differential is different to if he was going to a local franchise. Japan is always going to be a lucrative option. We haven’t got anything official yet.
‘He is with us until the end of October this year, if he doesn’t sign on. There are other constructions around the Japanese offer. Whether that is, like in the case of JD Schickerling, something like a sabbatical.
‘We haven’t had that conversation with Pieter-Steph yet, because there is nothing official. If he does get blown away by the yen, then we will obviously be looking at some loose forwards. We have some ideas, but we will have to wait until the window period opens in May.’
Dobson added that there was a ‘human factor’ that resulted in them pausing contraction negotiations with Du Toit, due to the trauma associated with the injury that he suffered last year.
‘Why we didn’t do a hard negotiation with Pieter-Steph a few weeks ago and keep pushing it, is that we realised that there are a lot of nuances to this. There is the human side to this injury, with it being such a big injury. We didn’t say that he should go the Japanese route or anything like that.
‘We started talking to Pieter about him staying on here for a couple of years and then we pushed pause on it because it was such a traumatic injury. The stats are of the 40 of that exact form of compartment syndrome, there have been 22 amputations. So you are looking at a 50% chance of amputation.
‘So, we got into a sort of negotiation mode with Pieter, but there was a humane side. There was a chance this guy could have had an amputation and wouldn’t have even been able to play with his kids in the garden. Did he want to go through that sort of risk again?
‘The nerve damage meant that there was structural weaknesses which could mean more surgeries. That’s why we pushed pause and said to Pieter, “Do what’s best for you”. Maybe Japanese rugby is not a bad option. That injury carried a lot of trauma and affected him quite a lot.’
Photo: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix