It’s been a long road back to the playing field for current World Rugby Player of the Year and Stormers looseforward Pieter-Steph du Toit.
Having suffered a “lammie” that led to serious complications against the Blues in Super Rugby last year, Du Toit has not played a single competitive match since that encounter in February.
In fact, his livelihood was at stake, with the 28-year-old staring leg amputation in the face because of compartment syndrome.
But after a few surgeries, it was actually a nose injury suffered in training that prevented him from returning to the field in their final preparation series match against the Lions at Cape Town Stadium last month.
Du Toit, though, is ready to go ahead of Saturday’s Rainbow Cup SA opener against the Sharks at Cape Town Stadium.
Forwards coach Rito Hlungwani explains: “He’s fit, he’s been training really well. He hasn’t played in a long time, so he’d love to play. He’d like to get going.
“Obviously he comes back from a bad injury – but he’s got a big engine, he’s a hard worker and he’s been really good around the place [during his recovery].”
In another boost for the Stormers, on-loan Pumas No.8 Willie Engelbrecht is ready to hit the ground running.
Of Engelbrecht, Hlungwani says: “It’s really nice to have him, we all know he’s always a great threat whenever you play against him.
“He’s a strong ball carrier and he fits in really well with the rest of the boys. He’s very happy to be here...
“He’s been what we thought he was... he’s a great player and we’re quite confident that when he does get the opportunity he will be able to execute.”