Pieter-Steph du Toit
South African Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer named an unchanged starting 15 to face New Zealand’s All Blacks in the 1st Rugby World Cup 2015 semifinal, on Saturday at Twickenham Stadium in London, England.
The only change to the matchday squad is at replacement lock – where Victor Matfield has overcome his hamstring injury and takes over from Pieter-Steph du Toit, bringing even more experience to the bench.
There is a provisa though, Lood de Jager still has to pass a fitness test on Friday, to be able to play, and if he does not pass that fitness test, Victor Matfield will slot into the starting berth at No 5, with Pieter-Steph du Toit then coming onto the Replacements bench.
It’s the 1st time since last November that Meyer has been able to name an unchanged team for back-to-back Tests and only the 6th time since his appointment in 2012.
His body language on match day is so often a dead giveaway, and Heyneke Meyer is the 1st to admit that he “stresses”.
So don’t expect the Springbok coach to be getting the best sleeps of his life in the build-up to Saturday’s Rugby World Cup quarterfinal against Wales at Twickenham (17:00 SA Time).
After all, he is facing arguably the most pivotal, “crossroads” game of his coaching career, when you think about it.
Not even the achievement of making the Bulls the 1st South African franchise to win Super Rugby in its properly pro-era incarnation in 2007 can be considered to rank as high in gravitas as this maiden knockout fixture at a Rugby World Cup for the very recently-turned 48-year-old from the Lowveld.
Unlike predecessor Peter de Villiers in 2009, Meyer has not had the opportunity to steer the Springboks through what might be considered next in line for heavyweight status after Rugby World Cup, a visit to our shores by the British & Irish Lions (next tour only due in 2021).
His tenure since 2012 has not yet brought the fruit of a Rugby Championship success, although he does warrant great credit for overseeing successive sweeps of European end-of-year tours in both 2012 and 2013, at a time of season when South African players are seriously vulnerable to fatigue.
Considering the unexpected degree of turbulence in the Springbok results column during the current season (including that Rugby World Cup-opening Japan shocker), reaching the semifinals of this tournament, all things considered, can probably be deemed as just about a “par” achievement for Meyer in his 1st exposure to a Rugby World Cup.
Springbok stars Frans Malherbe, Eben Etzebeth, Siya Kolisi and Damian de Allende have all committed their long-term rugby futures to DHL Western Province and the DHL Stormers.
Prop Malherbe, lock Etzebeth, flanker Kolisi and centre De Allende are in contention to represent South Africa at the 2015 Rugby World Cup in England, having all been part of the Springbok squad this season after stellar Vodacom Super Rugby campaigns for the DHL Stormers.
Between them, the quartet have featured in 61 Tests, Etzebeth leading the way with 37 Test appearances since his debut against England in 2012, with Malherbe (6 Tests) and Kolisi (11 Tests) making their debuts in 2013 and De Allende (7 Tests) playing his 1st international in 2014.
“Frans Malherbe, Eben Etzebeth, Siya Kolisi and Damian de Allende have all been developed here at Western Province, coming through our youth structures and going on to play Test rugby for South Africa as standout DHL Stormers and DHL Western Province players,” said WP Director of Rugby Gert Smal.
Jean de Villiers will captain a Springbok side also featuring the return of Pieter-Steph du Toit and Siya Kolisi in the match-23 for the 1st time since 2013, when the Springboks host Los Pumas at Growthpoint Kings Park in Durban on Saturday.
De Villiers will continue his remarkable recovery from the terrible knee injury he suffered last November in Cardiff and will start his 1st Test of the season. He will lead the team against the Pumas from outside centre, with Schalk Burger taking over the vice-captaincy.
As a result of De Villiers’ inclusion for the final Test in The Rugby Championship, Jesse Kriel will move to right wing.
“Jean’s comeback is truly remarkable and very inspirational and I can’t wait to see what he can offer playing next to exciting youngsters such as Handré Pollard, Damian and Jesse,” said Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer.
“Jean now has 160 minutes of rugby behind him since his comeback a month ago and I’m very satisfied that he will be able to make his mark as player and captain.
“Jesse is a very versatile player – he has played at wing before and spent almost the entire Vodacom Super Rugby season at fullback. His aerial skills and work-rate, as well as tactical kicking will be valuable and hopefully he will be given even more space to attack in.”
The forwards on the bench are again rotated due to injuries and players recovering from injuries, which sees the return of Siya Kolisi and and Pieter-Steph du Toit, both of whom made their last Test appearance as replacements in the 19 / 10 victory over France in Paris on 23 November, 2013.
Springbok team doctor Craig Roberts was beaming, and for good reason, when he addressed his weekly injury report media conference in Umhlanga Rocks on Monday.
Although a clutch of players are still out injured and there are a few that are unlikely to play before the start of the Rugby World Cup, the experienced duo of skipper Jean de Villiers and scrumhalf Fourie du Preez were joined by the equally influential Willem Alberts in getting safely through what Roberts described as “a great training session” on Monday morning.
“As you know, Jean is a player who took a back seat a bit so that he could get some game time, and the news is good on that front as he looked good in training and should be available for selection for this week’s game,” said Roberts.
“It was also a good work-out for Fourie du Preez. We will obviously monitor how he responds to the training, as we will with Jean, before making a final decision, but he is potentially ready to play against the Pumas this week.
“Willem is also looking good. We’ve been building him up for a while now, and if gets through the training week then he will be ready to play.”
The Springboks face Los Pumas from Argentinia in their final match in this year’s truncated Rugby Championship in Durban on Saturday before travelling to Argentina to play a Rugby World Cup warm-up Test in Buenos Aires. Roberts appears confident that if the aforementioned players can start in Durban.
And the group of available players coming back from injury should be further swollen by young lock Pieter-Steph du Toit.
The Springboks will be without tighthead prop Jannie du Plessis and flanker Francois Louw when they face Argentina’s Los Pumas in Durban next Saturday, but the Springboks could have Jean de Villiers, Fourie du Preez and Willem Alberts back while at this stage their medical team is optimistic of delivering a fully fit squad to the selectors for the Rugby World Cup, it was announced on Tuesday.
De Villiers, Du Preez and Alberts are 3 of 7 players whose fitness will be assessed on Monday as they complete the final phase of rehabilitation while players such as Duane Vermeulen and Coenie Oosthuizen are progressing well with their rehabilitation.
Although Du Plessis (knee) and Louw (rotator cuff), along with Victor Matfield and JP Pietersen (both hamstring injuries) will miss the Tests against the Pumas, none of these injuries will put their Rugby World Cup participation at risk. Saturday’s other injury victims, Vincent Koch and Warren Whiteley (rib cartilages) should be fit and available for selection next weekend.
Jan Serfontein (hip and knee), Marcell Coetzee (knee), Pieter-Steph du Toit (knee) and Steven Kitshoff (knee) will also be assessed on Monday with a view to being available to selection against the Pumas.
The Sharks have released 2 Media Releases today, with the 1st 1 bearing the news that Pieter-Steph du Toit is leaving the Union. The 2nd Media release focusses on Marcell Coetzee re-signing with the Sharks and also reveals the other candidates who have chosen to continue to ply their trade at the Sharks.
Pieter-Steph du Toit:
Springbok lock Pieter-Steph du Toit, today confirmed his departure from the Cell C Sharks at the end of his contract, which expires in October 2015.
Having made his debut for The Sharks in 2012, du Toit with his strong physicality and presence has become an influential player for the franchise with strong performances that earned him Springbok colours in 2013.
Commenting on his departure, The Sharks CEO John Smit said: “We are terribly disappointed to lose a player of the calibre of Pieter-Steph du Toit. Despite our best efforts to keep him in the province, he has chosen to move on.
Springbok No 8 and South Africa’s Rugby Player of the Year in 2014, Duane Vermeulen, is in a race against time to be fit for the Rugby World Cup after it was revealed that he has to undergo surgery on a neck injury, but national skipper Jean de Villiers has been cleared to return to the game this weekend.
De Villiers, who had a full knee reconstruction towards the end of 2014, is 1 of 6 injured players who were given the all clear from the Springbok medical team to be considered for selection against the World XV at DHL Newlands in Cape Town on Saturday. The others are Pat Lambie, Cobus Reinach, Lionel Mapoe, Schalk Burger and Lood de Jager.
Although Jan Serfontein (hip and knee) is recovering well from his injury, he will not be considered for selection this week. Furthermore, Scarra Ntubeni and Faf de Klerk are over their ankle niggles from late last week and took full part in training on Monday, while Heinrich Brüssow (broken arm) has recovered well, but is still a week or 2 away from playing.
“Our medical team worked very hard on the injured players and it’s a great positive to see the guys return,” said Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer on Monday.
Two injured players in the Springbok training squad, Frans Steyn and Pieter-Steph du Toit, have been temporarily released from the squad to continue their rehabilitation in Durban for the next few weeks.
Neither of them are expected to be fit for the Springboks’ 1st 2 matches of the season, next Saturday against the World XV in Cape Town and a week later against Australia in Brisbane. Steyn has a pectoral muscle tear, while Du Toit is recovering from a knee injury.
According to Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer the decision to send Steyn and Du Toit home was taken with the best interests of the players in mind.
“We’ve discussed the way forward with the players, and all of us agreed that the best way forward at this stage is for them to get full-time rehabilitation at their home province, while our own medical team will keep very close tabs on their progress,” said Meyer.
“Both of them are still firmly in our plans going forward for the season and I really hope they can get back onto the field sooner rather than later. I’m confident the individual attention they will receive in Durban will be a massive benefit to them in the long run.
“We won’t be taking Frans or Pieter-Steph with us to Australia and will reassess their situation when we return from Brisbane.”
With the International Test window just around the corner (11 July), the Rugby news in South Africa is being dominated by Springbok preparations for what lies ahead in 2015… The World XV game, the abbreviated Rugby Championship and 1 further match against Los Pumas and of course the Rugby World Cup from 18 September to 31 October 2015.
Of course, it could also be argued that we do not have anything else to talk about, because South African sides have all been done and dusted with Super Rugby for a couple of weeks already, whilst 2 New Zealand sides are still contesting it… on their ownsome lonesome!
Maybe it is a blessing in disguise though, for overall Springbok preparations, as they now have much more time to get their ducks in a row for the international scene, and to re-introduce the injured and rehabilitating players…
BUT, and it’s a big BUT… the injury list seems almost as long as the list of fighting fit candidates and that is a big concern.
In this article, we focus on what Heyneke Meyer says and feels about his chosen Springbok squad, and we have a good look at the fitness and injury update from the Springbok camp.
DHL Western Province Director of Rugby Gert Smal has confirmed their interest in signing Springbok lock Pieter-Steph du Toit from the Cell C Sharks.
Smal confirmed to EWN Sport that a discussion between him and Du Toit had taken place.
Smal said the Sharks had agreed to the discussion taking place.
The WP boss said the discussion went well and he now hopes Du Toit “makes the right decision to come to Cape Town.”
Du Toit, 22, signed a 2-year contract extension at the Sharks in July 2013 which runs until 30 June this year.
It was announced yesterday that Willie le Roux has signed for the Cell C Sharks for the 2016 season of Super Rugby, after agreeing to a deal that the Cheetahs were reportedly unable to match. Le Roux will play a short stint in Japan after the World Cup but will join the Sharks after.
The Cell C 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.
It has been an open secret for a while now that the Springbok lock, currently out injured, was in negotiations with the DHL 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 Natal 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 2 seasons and appears to feel beholden to the patience and resources that the Sharks have committed to his medical rehabilitation.
Springbok coach, Heyneke Meyer, has announced 2 sets of 44 players to participate in training camps in May and June in Johannesburg and Cape Town respectively.
The squads include a total of 19 uncapped players, including rising stars Jesse Kriel, Vincent Koch, Cheslin Kolbe and Bongi Mbonami.
The Sharks have made only 1 enforced change to their starting line-up that will face the Chiefs on Saturday, as Marco Wentzel comes into the second-row.
Wentzel replaces the injured Pieter-Steph du Toit in an otherwise unchanged 15, with Daniel du Preez and Waylon Murray named on the replacements bench.
“The Chiefs are a championship outfit with outstanding strength and depth and they will go into this match as favourites. They have a strong pack of forwards and one of the most exciting backlines in the competition and are well coached,” said head coach Gary Gold, whose side are looking to back up last weekend’s victory.
“We look forward to the challenge of measuring ourselves against one of the most dangerous sides. It’s going to be an exciting match-up.”
After emerging from surgery on Tuesday, Pieter-Steph du Toit has suggested that his knee injury may not be season-ending.
It was previously feared that the 22-year-old Sharks flanker would miss the remainder of the Super Rugby season and South Africa’s Rugby World Cup campaign, however the initial prognosis is positive.
“A miracle just happened,” tweeted Du Toit.
“Just got home after surgery, everything went well. Doc said I will be able to play in three months if rehab goes well.”
Cell C Sharks lock Pieter-Steph du Toit has been ruled out for the rest of the season with a knee injury sustained in his side’s win over the Toyota Cheetahs on Saturday.
Du Toit’s injury is a huge blow to the Sharks and the Springboks as it means he is almost certainly ruled out of the World Cup in England later this year.
Du Toit left the field during the first half after he twisted his knee during a tackle. The 22-year-old tore his anterior cruciate ligament on the same knee where a similary injury kept him on the sidelines for most of the 2014 season.
He hopped on a plane to Cape Town to see a surgeon while there were mixed emotions among his team-mates, who headed to Durban after their 29-10 victory over the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein.
After enduring a disappointing start to the season, Sharks coach Gary Gold has called on his side to ‘man-up’ and pull together.
Much is expected of a squad loaded with Springboks, but they have yet to realise their potential this season, with just 1 win from their first 4 games.
Gold said that the key to turning things around will be to remain united and take a hard look at which areas of their game are letting them down.
“This is certainly not the start we wanted in Super Rugby but it is important now to man-up and carry on with the fight.
“It is a long competition and we have got some work to do, no question of a doubt.
This is the third in the series of Cell C Sharks Squad Contenders for Super Rugby 2015.
The Sharks have lost the services of Anton Bresler (Edinburgh) and Peet Marais (Brive), between seasons, and have gained the services of Mouritz Botha (from Saracens) as well as the backup services of Giant Mtyanda. Stephan Lewies is still on a longer term injury list and should return somewhere in the middle of the tournament.
The early question raised is how Pieter-Steph du Toit will fare, coming back from injury.
We discuss the players IN the Super Rugby Group, and not all the options beyond that.
In this Article we look at the contenders for LOCKS in the Cell C Sharks 2015 Super Rugby group, and whether they could force their way into Bok contention.
Springboks Pieter-Steph du Toit and Willem Alberts are back training with the Sharks after long injury layoffs.
Lock Du Toit missed much of last season with a serious knee injury, while loose forward Alberts was laid low after a back operation last July.
The duo are back in training as the Sharks start their preparations for this year’s Super Rugby competition. Both have been training well and showed no discomfort from the injuries.
There was however less good news for lock Stephan Lewies, who will reportedly remain sidelined with injury for an extended period.
Former Springbok captain Victor Matfield’s role ahead of this year’s international season has taken on vital importance, especially with the season-ending injury to Cell C Sharks player Pieter-Steph du Toit.
Matfield, who starred in the Vodacom Bulls’ win over the Blues a fortnight ago, will now feature even more prominently in Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer’s plans for the upcoming season, especially with the dearth of five locks around the country at the moment.
Pieter-Steph du Toit underwent a scan to his knee yesterday with the disappointing news that he sustained an ACL injury and will be out for the remainder of the year.
The Sharks were dealt a cruel blow in the build-up top their Super Rugby encounter with the Reds on Saturday.
Springbok lock Pieter-Steph du Toit has been ruled out of the Round Five clash, following a training ground mishap on Thursday.
This is the third in the series of Cell C Sharks Squad Contenders for Super Rugby 2014. We do 2 articles per week per South African Super Rugby participating franchise.
We discuss the players IN the Super Rugby Group, and not all the options beyond that.
In this Article we look at the contenders for LOCKS in the Cell C Sharks 2014 Super Rugby group, and whether they could force their way into Bok contention.
Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer has explained why he decided to not include lock Pieter-Steph du Toit in his squad to face Scotland on Sunday.
Combining a fair bit of Springbok news, as speculation flows…
John McFarland, Springbok defensive coach says the Springbok defences were already better last week compared to the previous game against the All Blacks.
Scribes worry and remind Bakkies Botha to keep his dicipline on field and not to succumb to the “Red Mist” od ill-dicipline and the real threat of Yellow or Red Cards.
It also appears that both the formidable frame of young Pieter-Steph du Toit (lock) and that of Patrick Lambie will be in the run-on side for the Springboks on the weekend, with scribes writing up the virtues of Pieter-Steph du Toit almost non-stop, whilst others consider Lambie the perfect fir for the Scotland game.
Siyabonga “Scarra” Ntubeni is one of four uncapped players who will join three stalwarts of the Rugby World Cup winning squad of 2007, JP Pietersen, Jaque Fourie and Bakkies Botha, in 32-man Springbok squad for the forthcoming Castle Lager Outgoing Tour to Wales, Scotland and France.
It will be Botha and Fourie’s first involvement with the Springboks since the previous Rugby World Cup, in 2011 in New Zealand, while Pietersen is back in the squad for the first time this year.
At the weekend they were fierce rivals, but very soon they will team up to don the Green and Gold of South Africa.
This is the verdict on two of the most talented young second row forwards in the world, who were in opposing camps when the Sharks became Currie Cup champions with a 33-19 win over Western Province at Newlands.
In a Springbok medical update, it still seems as though some players are still recovering from minor niggles as a result of the last test against the All Blacks.
Springbok Coach Heyneke Meyer has recalled two players into the Springbok group for the final two matches of The Rugby Championship against the Wallabies and the All Blacks.
Pieter-Steph du Toit(Sharks) and Juan de Jongh(WP) are the two players who find themselves in the Springbok group for the final stages of The Rugby Championship. Continue reading
The Sharks welcome back Pieter-Steph du Toit to match action where he will line-up for his first start in this year’s Absa Currie Cup campaign for Saturday’s clash with Griquas at GWK Park in Kimberley.
Jean Deysel, who was nursing a few bruises, has been passed fit and will take his place at flank with Jacques Botes retaining the captaincy for this important game.
This would a be a year the Sharks would like to forget as they have been plagued with injuries and it seems that their injury woes are not over yet.
It would seem the newest victim is 34 year old lock Marco Wentzel, who suffered a shoulder dislocation. There has been no time frame linked with his recovery.
The Sharks announced on Friday that Pieter-Steph du Toit has reaffirmed his commitment to the team by re-signing for a further two years.
The announcement brings to an end weeks of speculation about the 20-year-old’s future – with both the Bulls and Stormers having shown interest in his services.
Rising star Pieter-Steph du Toit has become a massive signing target for provincial unions this season with no less than three Super Rugby franchises vying for his signature.
MTN Golden Lions lock Franco van der Merwe, currently on loan to The Sharks, has been called up to the Springbok squad in the place of the injured Pieter-Steph du Toit.