DURBAN - Thomas du Toit is 136kg of smiles and frivolity off the pitch but he promises that will all change when he gets cosy with his old chum Wilco Louw in Saturday’s Currie Cup final at Kings Park.
Du Toit a barrel of laughs if ever there was one, was on good form when he spoke to the press on Tuesday after training, stepping up to the media mics just after having thrown a ball most of the length of the field, American Football-style.
It begged the question of whether he had done athletics at school.
“Four years in a row at SA Champs,” he beamed. “You name it, I could throw it or heave it. Shot put, discus, hammer throw and javelin. If I had stuck at it, who knows, I might have made it to the Olympics!”
So might his mate Wilco Louw, who Du Toit first did battle with on the athletics fields of the Boland, where both went to school. Louw is a few months older but Du Toit has six kilos on him. They scrummed against each other while at school, Du Toit at Paarl Boys High and Louw at HTS Drostdy in Worcester.
“Ja, me and Wilco go back,” the 22-year-old says. “We met up again in the SA Under-20 team and have stayed mates since. We have been members of the ‘cauliflower brotherhood’ for some time. We shared a room at the Bok camp recently. If anything, I want to shut him up on Saturday because he kept me awake with his snoring!
“Wilco definitely thinks he has the edge in our little arm wrestle (in the scrums), but that is only what he thinks ...” Du Toit grins. “We are mates, but at 4pm on Saturday everything will change for 80 minutes.
“We have reviewed Western Province games often enough and they have a very good set scrum, and Wilco is the anchor of their pack. He is definitely one of the best scrummagers in South Africa, and we acknowledge that, but everything will change when we cross the whitewash on Saturday.”
Du Toit says this Cup final has grown into the most important game of his life. Is he nervous or excited? “Let’ say there is nervous excitement going on! For the Sharks and most certainly for me, playing WP is always special. The games are always crackers and I expect to it to be even more the case in a final,” he reflected.
Would he go as far as saying they are grudge matches?
“Not really. I would say that the long and the short of us playing WP is that it is personal, and that edge will make all the difference for me in getting my mind ready for this game,” he added, the serious side to him stirring for a few seconds.