Springbok star Pieter-Steph du Toit signs for Japanese side Toyota Verblitz
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CAPE TOWN - Springbok flank Pieter-Steph du Toit has signed with Japanese club Toyota Verblitz as he attempts to recover from a shoulder injury, the Japanese team announced on Monday.
Du Toit, who was a standout for the Boks during the 2019 World Cup in Japan, was substituted early in the second Test against the British & Irish Lions after being tipped in a late tackle by Scotland international Duhan van der Merwe in the second Test. While he continued on the field for some time, the flanker looked to be in clear discomfort and ultimately left the field. He was replaced by Franco Mostert for the deciding match at Cape Town Stadium, where the Boks secured the 2-1 series win.
Initially, Bok head coach Jacques Nienaber was not able to give a time frame on Du Toit’s expected return, leading to concerns that the 2019 World Rugby Player of the Year would miss the Boks’ Rugby Championship campaign as well as the End-of-Year Tour.
The 29-year-old underwent surgery on his should in August and is now in a race against time to be available for the Tests against England, Wales and Scotland in November.
In a statement issued by the club, Du Toit said: "Toyota Verblitz is a club that is well respected and an institution that reflects hard work, high performance and elite standards.
"It is a privilege to be part of such an environment and I hope to justify the faith put in me by giving my very best on and off the field. Meeting my new team mates and working hard to achieve the goals of the club and hopefully make the supporters proud are expectations I am very much looking forward to.”
Du Toit only recently overcame a career-threatening leg injury, which he sustained in John Dobson’s side’s last Super Rugby game against the Blues at Newlands in February 2020.
He spent more than a year on the sidelines recovering from the injury and had to undergo multiple surgeries after the haematoma on his left thigh quickly developed into acute compartment syndrome.
The club also acquired the signature of New Zealand lock Patrick Tuipulotu for the upcoming Japanese domestic rugby season.