Stormers coach John Dobson says it was always going to be a ‘complex case’ to retain the services of Pieter-Steph du Toit, but has credited such big-name players who recommitted to the franchise.
An ongoing contractual saga came to a pleasing conclusion for the Stormers this past week when it was confirmed that Du Toit had signed a contract extension to keep him in the Cape until at least the British & Irish Lions tour next year.
In addition, the majority of the Stormers squad remained intact despite some stressful times during a 21-day exit window that allowed players the option to cancel their contracts in favour of overseas offers.
‘It was obviously great for us to keep the rest of the squad, a lot of credit must go to those big-name players who were in demand and who were loyal from the start of the 21-day period,’ Dobson commented.
‘Our first job is to try and get the guys to enjoy working and playing here; I know in some of their cases that makes a big difference. Some guys got incredible offers, so whether that is the team environment, where their families are or where they see themselves long term it is great that they stayed.
‘Pieter-Steph was always going to be a more complex case because he is the World Rugby Player of the Year and the interest in him. He has bought into the collective bargaining agreement and like the other players has taken the same pay cut and wants to be part of our future here. I think that is credit to him because I think the pressure would have been substantial.
‘The one thing about him is that it doesn’t matter what the game is or who he is playing for, the way he works on the field – his physicality and giving 100% – is incredible. He has had a serious injury and is busy with his rehab, but now that we have got clarity that really needs to be accelerated. We are hoping that he will be available when we get back on the field,’ Dobson added.
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