SA teams target Pieter-Steph
Johannesburg - Rising star Pieter-Steph du Toit has become a massive signing target for provincial unions this season with no less than three Super Rugby franchises vying for his signature, reports the supersport.com website
The highly-rated youngster has not yet completed an extension to his Sharks contract, and while technically he cannot be lured away or even spoken to before July 1, a number of franchises are already making plans for big-money offers to the youngster.
Du Toit is highly rated by Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer and was recently included in both the Springbok training camps and the final Springbok squad, although he had to withdraw with an injury.
A physical and tough lock he made his debut for the Sharks this year and they are desperate to keep him, even though he has caught the eye of other franchises.
While it was expected the Sharks would have secured his signature by now, as with many other contracts at the Durban franchise, players have adopted a wait-and-see approach to see who the new coach is before committing.
This has opened up a back door for other provinces to have a look at players, while scouts from overseas clubs are also circling.
Supersport.com has confirmed from more than one source that the Blue Bulls and Western Province are both very keen to sign Du Toit, and have big money offers ready when the July 1 deadline arrives.
According to SARU regulations, no province may approach or negotiate with a player without his union’s permission before July 1 in the year his contract expires. It is expected with a load of money freed up by top Springboks heading overseas that there will be a lot more money in the local market and Du Toit is the No 1 target.
Du Toit’s agent Gerrie Swart said his client was negotiating an extension with the Sharks but wouldn’t say if he had received other offers.
“It is very important to note that neither he nor anyone can negotiate on his behalf before 1 July,” Swart told said. “He is contracted to the Sharks to the end of the season and we are in discussions with them for him to stay on in Durban.”
Du Toit is likely to be named in the Bok squad for the Rugby Championship in August.