Rainbow Cup

Stormers coach on Pieter-Steph exit rumours: 'He hasn't made a decision yet'

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Pieter-Steph du Toit. (Gallo Images)
Pieter-Steph du Toit. (Gallo Images)
  • Pieter-Steph du Toit is yet to make a decision if he'll stay at the Stormers after this year.
  • Stormers coach John Dobson says they've been "in conversation with his agent this whole time".
  • The coach, though, admits offers from abroad could amount to sums that no South African franchise "could stand in the way of".

Springbok star Pieter-Steph du Toit's future with Western Province and the Stormers remains unclear.

Du Toit has returned to his best form in recent weeks after being sidelined for over a year with a serious leg injury.

He has completed three 80-minute performances in the PRO14 Rainbow Cup SA and was man-of-the-match in the Stormers' 25-22 win over the Sharks in Durban at the weekend.

But the 2019 World Rugby Player of the Year is in high demand and it's uncertain whether he'll sign a contract extension with the Cape franchise later this year.

Du Toit, 28, was initially set to join Irish club Munster, before the big money move was vetoed by the Irish Rugby Football Union.

He is now reportedly being courted by Japanese Top League side Toyota Verblitz, where Springbok team-mate Willie le Roux plies his trade.

In a virtual media briefing on Tuesday, Stormers coach John Dobson said Du Toit had yet to make a decision on his future.

"With regards to Pieter-Steph, we have been talking to him through the whole year. As I indicated in an earlier press conference, he first wanted to get back onto the field and see if he could play again. I think he has answered that question," the coach said.

"We have been in conversation with his agent this whole time. He hasn't made a decision yet. He hasn't signed anywhere else overseas at the moment. We will keep chatting with him.

"We have got two scenarios in our budget. One is with Pieter-Steph staying and the other is that he is going. One must also be realistic that a World Player of the Year coming onto the market could involve sums - whether that's in euro or yen - that no South African franchise could stand in the way of, nor would [we] want to."

Dobson, though, hasn't entirely given up on the idea of Du Toit staying put.

"He has got ever-growing business interests in the Western Cape. I know he doesn't want to be too far from those. Whether he goes now, whether he stays or whether he goes for a short while and comes back to us... we know he is really enjoying his rugby here, you can see it in how he is playing, in the smiles after the try (he scored against the Sharks in Durban).

"There is no final decision on Pieter-Steph yet, but we are very open-minded. He is saying that he needs to know if he can play international rugby. He has promised to communicate with us should he get to the point where he is considering signing in Japan or somewhere like that."

If Du Toit opts to go to Japan, there could also be a deal in which he returns to play for the Stormers for some parts of the year.

"He's a big player who we haven't said yay or nay to. You don't really want to say no to Pieter-Steph du Toit should he want to stay here. He is a big part of this team and region."

But Dobson did concede that money could play a role.

"I'm afraid if we tried to match what Pieter-Steph could be getting overseas... we have heard some of the figures, it's virtually a third of the salary cap on one player. We wouldn't compete with that. If he stayed here, it would be because he wants to be close to his family, he enjoys playing for this franchise and he has some business interests here. It's a personal decision."

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