Stormers star remains on the sidelines
INJURY UPDATE: The Stormers will start their campaign in South Africa’s revamped domestic competition without one of their biggest stars.
Stormers coach John Dobson told a virtual media briefing on Thursday that World Rugby Player of the Year Pieter-Steph du Toit will remain sidelined for the foreseeable future.
Du Toit, 28, is continuing his rehabilitation from an injury that nearly resulted in his leg being amputated.
He suffered the injury during the Stormers’ loss to the Blues in February – before COVID-19 brought a premature halt to rugby.
The haematoma quickly developed into acute compartment syndrome and required emergency surgery.
While Dobson hopes Du Toit will miss only the first few rounds of the competitions, scheduled to kick off on October 10, there is no guarantee.
“Pieter-Steph is not ready yet and the truth is that we are not sure when he will be ready,” the coach told the media briefing.
He said it was initially expected to be a six-month lay-off for the burly loose forward.
However, his rehabilitation has progressed slower than expected.
“The nerve in the muscle is damaged, which protects the knee.
“The muscle around that nerve is not growing back fast enough.
“We are on a three- to four-week cycle now sand it is showing signs of growth, though.
“Our hope is that he only misses the first two games.
“He is not going to make the start [of the domestic tournament], but he is training full out.
“It is not panic stations. He won’t be ready for the SuperFan day [at Loftus Versfeld on September 26] and our first two games [in October].
“It is certainly going to be towards the back-end of October, at best.”
Dobson admitted that injuries is his biggest concern for when rugby gets underway later this month.
“It is probably not since school that the players have gone six or seven months [without a game] like this,” he said.
“As a coaching group, our major fear is injury.
“We have seen the stats from the other competitions. The players are really keen to play mentally, but at the same time, we are really worried about injuries.
“We have pushed the players as far as we could over the last few weeks to try and get as close as we could within the regulations.”