Fuss-free Du Toit will lead from front
Elevation to Bok captain against Wales is recognition for his work ethic and on-field prowess
Pieter-Steph du Toit has Springbok rugby in his blood as the grandson of a Bok and as part of a family steeped in rugby.
His elevation to Bok captain‚ even if it is only temporary‚ is recognition for his quality as a player and quiet respect from his peers.
Du Toit‚ 25‚ will lead the Boks against Wales in Washington on Saturday before returning to the rank and file for the three-Test series against England with Stormers teammate Siya Kolisi leading against England.
The grandson of Piet "Spiere" du Toit‚ who played 14 Tests from 1958 to 1961, will become Springbok captain No60 and is sure to handle the job the way he plays — with honesty and little fuss.
Du Toit is as tough on his peers as he is on himself‚ because his own standards are so high. He expects every player to give his their all best in training and in matches.
It is no wonder his Super Rugby statistics make for excellent reading. He is in the top 10 for tackles made‚ dominant tackles‚ line-outs won‚ line-outs stolen‚ 15th for ball carries and 29th for turnovers won — a great stat for a tight forward.
Du Toit is a selfless team man, and while the honour of captaining the Boks will not be lost on him‚ having the leadership removed a week later will not burden him either.
His tireless work ethic is a source of awe around the Stormers’ training facility, where he is routinely the first player at work and the last to leave. And while he is at the High Performance Centre in Bellville‚ everything is done with 100% commitment and focus.
Du Toit had been part of the Stormers’ leadership group for three seasons‚ coach Robbie Fleck said.
"Behind the scenes he is extremely hard working and professional. And he plays with his heart on his sleeve.
"He has all the attributes to be a great leader‚ but he won’t be someone who will say a lot. He prefers to lead by example and he will only raise his voice when he feels it’s absolutely necessary. Those are good leadership qualities," Fleck said.
"Like Rassie Erasmus did by making Siya captain‚ this is also a good choice because Pieter-Steph is going to push the players to aspire to be better on and off the field‚ especially in terms of their preparation work.
"I’m really happy for him because he has been playing outstanding rugby this year‚ which is a reward for the type of player he is."
More caps as Bok captain might come in future but Du Toit could also join a small group of men who only led the Boks once in a Test. Since 1891‚ 59 players have led the Springboks in a Test. Of those‚ 15 captained the Boks just once.
In the post-isolation era‚ Du Toit will join Tiaan Strauss‚ Adriaan Richter‚ Erasmus‚ Johan Muller and Schalk Burger as once-off captains.