Pieter-Steph du Toit can’t be ignored for the British and Irish Lions tour
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CAPE TOWN - Over the next few weeks, our rugby writers will be debating their Springbok choices from No 15 to No 1 for the upcoming series against the British & Irish Lions. Today we focus on No 7:
ASHFAK MOHAMED’S CHOICE: PIETER-STEPH DU TOIT
You can’t really ignore Pieter-Steph du Toit when he is the reigning World Rugby Player of the Year, can you?
Even though he sat out for over a year due to a serious leg injury, Du Toit has been his relentless self since returning for the Stormers a few weeks ago.
He has been playing lungbusting 80-minute matches to get back to full fitness, and his non-stop combative style of play is close to where he finished the 2019 Rugby World Cup.
A colossal ball-carrier, deadly defender, supreme line-out jumper and even a ball-stealer at the breakdowns, Du Toit does it all.
Lions No 7 Vincent Tshituka’s hard-working efforts should also be noted, while Bulls youngster Elrigh Louw has all the attributes to become a Bok too.
MIKE GREENAWAY’S CHOICE: PIETER-STEPH DU TOIT
Rassie Erasmus is thanking the heavens that this Springbok talisman is not only playing again but showing signs that he will be at his best come the Test series in late July.
For a long time, there was a real danger that the 28-year-old would retire because of an unusual leg injury.
It is a sign of his class that he has shown little rust in his games for the Stormers in the Rainbow Cup and in his last outing, against the Sharks, he was the Man of the Match.
In-form contenders to back him up include Elrigh Louw of the Bulls and Jean-Luc du Preez (Sale Sharks).
MORGAN BOLTON’S CHOICE: PIETER-STEPH DU TOIT
I mean, who wouldn't select the 2019 World Rugby Player of the Year?
PSDT is a beast and has recently begun putting in shifts on the field that bode well for the Springboks.
Powerful, courageous, visionary, with a burst of speed no man weighing in at 120kg should possess, Du Toit is the portrait of what a modern rugby player should be.
There are not enough superlatives to describe the No 7, and together with Duane Vermeulen they combine together to create a frighteningly good eightman and flank combo.
The Du Preez brothers, Dan and Jean-Luc, also have a shot, but if PSDT is fit, then they will play marginal roles in the Test series.
And lest we forget, Elrigh Louw could also find himself in the mix, but certainly only as back-up.
WYNONA LOUW’S CHOICE: PIETER-STEPH DU TOIT
We might as well have gone ahead and skipped this one, because there can be no debate as to who must wear the No 7 jersey when the British & Irish Lions touch down in SA.
The reigning World Rugby Player of the Year was sensational during the World Cup in Japan. He was superb throughout that entire season.
He made his return for the Stormers after spending more than a year on the sidelines with a complicated leg injury, and when he got back, he got right back into it.
You wouldn’t be blamed for thinking he was never gone. There aren’t many certainties in life, but Du Toit producing blockbuster performances when it matters is definitely one of the few.