Pieter-Steph decision to stay with Stormers a win-win for both parties
Du Toit would’ve warranted a mega deal from clubs in Europe and Japan due to his status as the World Rugby Player of the Year, having starred for the Springboks in their march to the 2019 Rugby World Cup title.
But signing a contract extension on Thursday was arguably the right thing to do for the 27-year-old.
At this moment, though, home is where the heart is for Du Toit. He has just come off a potentially career-threatening injury that nearly saw him lose a leg, following a haematoma he sustained against the Blues on February 29, which resulted in a major operation.
Coach John Dobson is hopeful that his star player would be back on the field once rugby resumes.
“He has had a serious injury and is busy with his rehab, but now that we have got clarity that really needs to be accelerated. We are hoping that he will be available when we get back on the field,” Dobson said.
A move overseas at this stage would have put Du Toit under tremendous pressure, and he would have played more games at a French or English club than he would for the Stormers.
At home, he will be carefully managed by Dobson in 2020, as well as Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber and SA director of rugby Rassie Erasmus in 2021 leading up to the Lions series.
WP Rugby announced that Du Toit will be taking a pay cut like all other local players due to the impact of the coronavirus on the sport, but it is understood that he was able to secure some freedom with regards to image rights.
“He has bought into the collective bargaining agreement, and like the other players, has taken the same pay cut and wants to be part of our future here. I think that is credit to him because I think the pressure would have been substantial,” Dobson said.
“The support from the board and the shareholder in keeping Pieter-Steph and this amazing squad together has been absolutely incredible. We don’t have billionaire equity partners - we are owned by our clubs, which are going through enormous stress themselves.”
But while the Stormers have held on to Du Toit and signed fullback Warrick Gelant from the Bulls, they have lost flank Cobus Wiese and flyhalf Jean-Luc du Plessis, who will join Dillyn Leyds and Wilco Louw in signing for overseas clubs.