Boks v All Blacks: Pieter-Steph du Toit’s confidence returning after injury spell | The Citizen

Springbok flank Pieter-Steph du Toit is looking to put a torrid injury spell behind him and continue building towards the form he displayed when he won the 2019 World Cup and was named World Rugby’s player of the year, when he faces the All Blacks on Saturday.

Du Toit has played barely any rugby over the past two years, after a freak leg injury in March 2020 kept him out of rugby until 2021, with him then suffering a major shoulder injury during the British and Irish Lions series that further kept him on the side line until last month.

He finally made his long awaited return in the second Test against Wales, playing 80 minutes, and followed that up with another full game in the decisive third Test, proving he was back to full fitness ahead of the Rugby Champs.

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“Unfortunately injuries are just part of the game and I have been injured a lot these past two tears. But the more you train with the team and the more minutes you get on the field the better you are going to be,” said Du Toit.

“That has helped me in the past. If you look at 2018 and 2019 I played a lot of rugby and trained a lot, so I think that makes a massive difference in your performance on the field. Just by ticking those minutes off and getting the game time behind you.

“I took a lot of confidence from the game in Cape Town (third Welsh Test). I really got into the game nicely and finished strong. Of course the fitness can always be better and there is always space for improvement.”

Big challenge

Du Toit is thus looking forward to facing the All Blacks again, who he hasn’t played against since 2019, with him missing both of last year’s games against them during the Rugby Championship in Australia.

“Playing against the All Blacks is always a big opportunity and challenge. It is also really nice for us to be playing them in Nelspruit (Mbombela),” said Du Toit.

“This is a good opportunity for us to show the public how we have improved. Everyone always compares us to 2019. But time goes on and we have to adapt, so hopefully we have adapted and play a better style for the public as well as a winning one.

“We aren’t focusing too much on them, we just focus on ourselves. Playing against New Zealand is always a big challenge and they are always up for the game, so we just have to focus on ourselves and play the way we have trained to play.”

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