Springbok flanker and 2019 World Rugby Player of the year, Pieter-Steph Du Toit, is set to return to the field after 11 and a half months on the sideline with an horrific injury. It is easy to forget just how impactful players are when they haven’t been in action, so let’s rejig the memory.
Du Toit’s return could not be more timely, as the Springboks approach the final months of their preparation for the 2021 British & Irish Lions tour. Captain Siya Kolisi successfully made his comeback from injury for the Sharks a few weeks ago, scoring a try on debut, and the news that Pieter-Steph Du Toit’s return is imminent means that the Springboks may very well go into the test series with their World Cup winning back-row of Duane Vermeulen, Siya Kolisi and Pieter-Steph Du Toit.
Given the recent turn of fortunes for the Boks in terms of their locking stocks, with Eben Etzebeth, Lood De Jager and RG Snyman currently injured, Du Toit’s value may not only be in the loose, but in his ability to cover the second row if the current injuries do not heal in time.
Before Du Toit’s in jury, it was widely accepted that he was the best blindside flank in the world, and it could certainly be argued that he was part of the best back row in rugby before Covid shook the world. Athough he has spent some significant time on the sidelines, quality and class in a player like Du Toit doesn’t fade. The question is simply that of regaining fitness, but faced with an opportunity to reassert himself as the best in the world, in a tour that comes around once every 12 years, why would Pieter-Steph Du Toit not do everything to be at the peak of his powers in July?
(Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)