Sharks winning Pieter-Steph battle
Cape Town - The Sharks appear to be winning the battle to retain the services of Cape bred Pieter-Steph du Toit, who has told Durban media that he is committed to the union that he says gave him his big break in rugby.
According to supersport.com, it has been an open secret for a while now that the Springbok lock, currently out injured, was in negotiations with the Stormers. Until quite recently the Western Province union appeared to be winning the battle, with informed sources confirming that Du Toit, who is from Swartland farming stock, was nearly certain to make the move down the coast next season.
However, it is understood that the Sharks then fought quite hard with counter-offers and promises that a concerted effort will be made to get the structures in Durban rugby right, and in an interview with the Mercury on Monday the lock said that while he couldn’t say what would happen in the longer term, he was committed to the Sharks for now.
Du Toit has been out injured for most of the past two seasons and appears to feel beholden to the patience and resources that the Sharks have committed to his medical rehabilitation.
“I have a debt to pay to a franchise that welcomed me with open arms when I was a nobody out of school, and then have stuck by me for two years when I was mostly injured,” said Du Toit.
“I need to honour that debt and I want to.”
Du Toit has played just seven Super Rugby games in two years due to a serious knee injury that first forced him out of the whole of last season and then threatened to rule him out of the rest of 2015, thus ruling him out of the World Cup in England in September and October, before another diagnosis changed that landscape.
Although Du Toit won’t play again in Super Rugby this year, he has said he is ready to make his return to the field within the next two months, and will be available for the Boks’ international commitments this year.
“I am in Durban doing my rehab and have been blessed that the injury is not as bad as it was last year, and there is a lifeline for me to the Springboks. And that will be with the Sharks in the early rounds of the Currie Cup, and the plan is that I will play for a Bok team against a World XV. In the meantime I owe the Sharks for their loyalty in sticking by me through my injuries.”