Super Rugby

Pieter-Steph gives reminder of No 7 ability

Pieter-Steph du Toit (Gallo)
Pieter-Steph du Toit (Gallo)

Cape Town - At the start of the 2018 Super Rugby season, Stormers forwards coach Russell Winter made his position on Pieter-Steph du Toit clear. 

Winter believed that the 25-year-old, despite having been used at No 7 by Springbok coach Allister Coetzee's last year, was a lock. 

"I see him as a lock who can cover loose forward ... predominantly, he will play lock," Winter explained during this year’s Australasian tour that yielded three straight losses for the Stormers.

On Saturday against the Blues, though, Du Toit played at No 7 and was immense for the Stormers as they powered their way to a 37-20 win at Newlands.

The former Sharks carried the ball eight times in the contest, beating four defenders along the way, while he also made nine tackles. 

Perhaps most significantly, Du Toit won five lineouts as the Stormers got over the demons that had plagued them in that department in Australia and New Zealand. 

With Chris van Zyl and Jan de Klerk putting in solid shifts in the second row and with Eben Etzebeth on the road to recovery, the possibility of Du Toit starting more matches on the side of the scrum is a very real one. 

"What’s great is that he's obviously a big ball carrier, but he’s also a great lineout option," Van Zyl said of Du Toit from the Stormers' Bellville training complex on Monday.

"It gives us really good jumpers in all three positions. I think strength at lineout time is a massive plus.

"This weekend there was a real work ethic to the pack and I think that was credit to the fact that we had three locks on the field. I think that played towards our strength."

The improvement at lineout time, Van Zyl added, was simply down to hard work.

"We were under a lot of pressure after the tour … that was definitely not up to our standards," he acknowledged.

"Credit to all the guys and coach Russell (Winter) … we said we wanted to go back to what we’re good at and we put in some extra time last week and stuck to what we feel our strengths are. I think it paid off.

"We just want to keep improving and what we put in this weekend … I think it was 9 from 10 … that's the standard we set ourselves."

The Stormers are next in action on Saturday when they host the Reds. Kick-off is at 17:15.

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