Thomas du Toit of the Cell C Sharks during their training session at Kings Park Stadium in Durban, October 19 2020. Picture: STEVE HAAG/GALLO IMAGES
Thomas du Toit of the Cell C Sharks during their training session at Kings Park Stadium in Durban, October 19 2020. Picture: STEVE HAAG/GALLO IMAGES

Sharks tighthead prop Thomas du Toit may not get another opportunity to add to his 12 Test caps in the immediate future after the Springboks’ recent withdrawal from the Rugby Championships due to Covid-19.

Player welfare‚ safety concern and Covid-19 travel restrictions were among factors that led to the South Africans pulling out of the event. The physical‚ but ever philosophical front-ranker‚ understands the reasoning in the decision to pull out and is looking forward to making an impression in Super Rugby Unlocked instead.

“There are pros and cons [for the withdrawal] and we may not know all the reasons why it has happened‚ but at the end of the day‚ we are here to play rugby,” said Du Toit. “It doesn’t matter what kind of competition. We just want to play rugby. So we’re happy.”

After their second round bye in the domestic competition‚ the Sharks’ next Super Rugby Unlocked assignment is a trip to Loftus Versfeld on Saturday to face the Bulls.

In their SuperFan Saturday encounter at the end of September‚ the Sharks were bullied‚ especially at the set pieces.

Du Toit‚ who is generally partnered in the front row by young hooker Dylan Richardson and the rapidly improving Retshegofaditswe “Ox” Nche at loose-head‚ said he has a menacing front row with plenty of potential.

“Set pieces are always a work-on. You have to prepare in different ways‚ so things change from different weeks.

“There are things that remain the same‚ but we need to have a huge focus on our set-piece because it’s a strength of theirs‚” Du Toit said.

“If you look at our front row‚ we have Dylan‚ who is new at hooker but is very good ... everyone knows about Ox’s destructive power. He’s a strong bloke and I’m excited to see him scrum each week. We’re still gelling and getting there.”

The Sharks haven’t looked like the all-conquering team from pre-Covid-19 Super Rugby, but Du Toit said they were slowly finding their touch again.

“We’re quite close to regaining that momentum and hitting that stride again. We haven’t lost much of what we did at the time and the plan hasn’t changed. We’ve let ourselves down a little in the way we’ve played‚ but I think we’ll find our stride very soon‚” Du Toit said.

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