Will he stay or will he go? This is the obfuscatory question surrounding World Rugby Player of the Year Pieter-Steph du Toit. The word from Newlands is that Du Toit has decided to remain with the Stormers.
However, this has not de-escalated the number of reports that he has taken up the option – as part of SA Rugby’s 21-day clause – to tear up his contract and head abroad. What adds to the anarchy and dubiety is suggestions that ‘some paperwork’ still needs to finalized to ensure Du Toit remains based in Cape Town.
Exactly what this ‘paperwork’ is, remains unclear, as Du Toit should have a valid contract in place.
Unless, of course, he did, in fact, tear up his current contract before Thursday’s midnight deadline – as prescribed in SA Rugby’s survival plan – and is now in negotiation for a new contract with the Western Province Rugby Football Union (or Stormers) and SA Rugby.
Calls to his agent, Gerrie Swart, were met with a firm: “No comment.” However, social media was awash with reports that Du Toit is, in fact, heading abroad – either France or Japan. Rugby 365 has reliably been informed that Du Toit has NOT signed a contract abroad.
“Pieter-Steph does not want to leave,” a source close to the player told this website on Saturday.
However, the uncertainty surrounding a contract in South Africa was not cleared up.
What is certain is that the Stormers/WP have lost the services of at least two Springboks and two other high-quality players.
Springboks Dillyn Leyds (France) and Wilco Louw (England) are heading abroad.
Still to be confirmed are the departures of flank Cobus Wiese (Sale Sharks) and flyhalf Jean-Luc du Plessis (uncertain). However, several reports have heavily linked them to moves abroad and the WPRFU/Stormers have not denied their departures.