Pieter-Steph du Toit. Picture: SUNDAY TIMES/ESA ALEXANDER
Pieter-Steph du Toit. Picture: SUNDAY TIMES/ESA ALEXANDER

SA flanker Pieter-Steph du Toit was named World Rugby player of the year at a glitzy ceremony in Tokyo on Sunday, with Rassie Erasmus claiming the coaches’ award, fresh from securing the Rugby World Cup title on Saturday.

Du Toit was a colossus for the Springboks during the World Cup and dominated the breakdown during the final win over England, helping SA secure seven turnovers and proving a menace for the English throughout the match.

He also made 11 tackles and set up fellow player of the year nominee Cheslin Kolbe for the decisive final try in the 32-12 win. Erasmus not only secured the Springboks’ third Rugby World Cup title but also led them to a first Rugby Championship win since 2009.

Under Erasmus, SA have only lost once in 2019, in the pool stages to old rivals New Zealand. When he took over in March 2018, SA  were ranked seventh in the world but they have returned to their traditional forwards-based game with extraordinary results.

Unsurprisingly, given their success over the past 12 months, SA  also collected the team of the year award. 

Reuters