How things turned out differently for Bok Thomas du Toit
Thomas du Toit was on the cusp of making his debut for the most celebrated club in France when he got the call to report for Springbok duty in Japan.
The latest chapter in his rugby career was set to start on Saturday for his new club Toulouse in their match against Pau in the Top 14‚ but then the Bok SOS came through.
He answered their call in every way.
“I don’t think you get much closer than that‚” a relieved Du Toit said on Wednesday.
“I was in Toulouse for a week‚ two days were medicals and the other three pre-season. Last Sunday there was talk about me playing (for Toulouse) but then things turned out differently.”
Du Toit got the call Sunday morning and he touched down in Tokyo on Tuesday morning.
It was a huge turn around for the tighthead prop who would have been gutted at missing out on original selection in the Rugby World Cup squad.
The calf injury Trevor Nyakane suffered against New Zealand last Saturday‚ however‚ opened the door for the barrel chested prop.
Du Toit‚ who like Nyakane can pack down on either side of the scrum‚ will help bring depth to two positions.
He has been selected to play from the bench in Saturday’s Pool B match against Namibia.
He is a powerful and explosive player who has gained some value experience over the last while.
He believes he is a more rounded prop having also spent time at Munster.
“I learnt a lot. It was an awesome time. I like it in Limerick. It was very different. It is definitely a time I will reflect on. It opened up my eyes to a different style of rugby.
"In terms of preparation we might lack a bit in South Africa. It was a lot more detail orientated. It was just different‚” said Du Toit.
Bok coach Rassie Erasmus made 13 changes to the starting line-up for the match against Namibia. He is not taking the Namibians lightly though.
“If we play to our potential we should win‚” Erasmus said.
“The gap between tier one and tier two has closed. There are no longer 100 points‚ 80 points or 70 points. They are our neighbours‚ we know there will be some physical things going on.”
Erasmus believes Namibia is an unknown factor.
”Obviously we studied them in the games leading up to the World Cup‚" he said.
"We studied them in the Italy game as well.”
That brought them to the conclusion that there will be a reduced aerial threat.
“We don’t necessarily think we are going to need so many line-out options in this game‚" he said. “Francois Louw will probably be one of our line-out options along with Kwagga (Smith).
"If we do struggle we can bring on a guy like Francois Mostert off the bench. We have some tall guys in RG (Snyman) and Lood (de Jager). We think we’ll manage that.
“What that obviously gives us then is a lot of speed across the park. That is another benefit against a Namibian team‚ from our analysis that just wants to play and have a lot of fun.”