Du Toit ruled out for three months

2013-06-06 00:00

PIETER-STEPH du Toit, one of the few bright lights in what has been a gloomy Sharks season, has been ruled out of rugby for three months.

The 20-year-old Du Toit, a member of the current Springbok squad, has been suffering from a sternum injury and he has now been medically advised to undergo surgery.

Du Toit has been struggling with the injury for some time, but has fought on bravely in the Sharks second row, confirming the view that he is one of South Africa’s most promising young forwards.

“Pieter-Steph is only 20 and the decision was taken, in consultation with the Sharks and in the interest of his long-term playing career, to withdraw him from the Springbok squad,” team doctor Craig Roberts said yesterday.

Du Toit, who was expected to play off the Springbok bench against Italy at King’s Park on Saturday, has not trained this week.

Roberts said that Du Toit had seen several specialists this week.

“This injury should be optimally managed and the specialists we consulted are of the opinion he requires surgery, which will put him out of action for approximately three months.”

Lions lock Franco van der Merwe, currently on loan to the Sharks, has been called up to the Springbok squad in the place of Du Toit.

Van der Merwe will join the squad in Durban immediately.

The loss of Du Toit is a severe blow for the injury-hit Sharks who are looking to finish their disappointing Super Rugby campaign with a flourish.

The Sharks still have three more round robin games to play — against the Auckland Blues and Kings in Durban and the Bulls in Pretoria — after the June international window.

Du Toit will also be unavailable for most of the four-nation Rugby Championship that starts in mid-August and involves South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and Argentina.

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