World Player of the Year Pieter-Steph du Toit to remain at DHL Stormers

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WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND - MARCH 22: Pieter-Steph du Toit poses during a Stormers Super Rugby training session at Westpac Stadium on March 22, 2019 in Wellington, New Zealand. (Photo by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images)
FILE PHOTO: Pieter-Steph du Toit poses during a Stormers Super Rugby training session at Westpac Stadium in Wellington, New Zealand. (Photo by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images)

South African Rugby World Cup winner Pieter-Steph du Toit withdrew his notice of contract termination and committed his future to Western Province Rugby.

Last week, Du Toit submitted a request to leave the Cape Town-based side in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

The disruptions to South African rugby occasioned saw SA Rugby announce an Industry Salary Plan (ISP) which included a range of cost-cutting measures, among them huge wage cuts, to save 1.2 billion Rand in expenses. As part of the ISP, South Africa’s professional rugby players were given a 21-day period in which to request contract termination and leave their franchises and provinces immediately.

The withdrawal of the request means Du Toit will remain with the DHL Stormers until at least the end of the British and Irish Lions tour in August 2021 and receive the same salary reduction as his teammates according to SA Rugby industry’s financial impact plan.

The highest earners in South African rugby face a salary cut of up to 43 percent between May 1 and December.

Du Toit, the 2019 World Rugby Player of the Year, had indicated his desire to remain with the Stormers prompting the board and team management to find a way to retain him in the interest of Western Province and South African rugby.

DHL Stormers Head Coach John Dobson said that the retention of such a prominent player was good for the DHL Stormers, Western Province Rugby and South African rugby

“We are proud as a Union of our achievement of contracting eight Rugby World Cup winning Springboks in the province and keeping them in the country,” Dobson said.

Dobson added that the focus will switch to conditioning and training now that the majority of the Stormers squad had been confirmed. The Stormers had already lost lock/flank Cobus Wiese to English Premiership side Sale Sharks and fly-half Jean-Luc du Plessis who went to Japan.

“With this period of uncertainty now behind us, we have managed to navigate this period relatively unscathed. We hope rugby will be able to resume as soon as safely possible, so that the faithful and the rugby public can enjoy seeing this special group of athletes play rugby.

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