While the rise of Thomas du Toit over the last few weeks has been an absolute godsend for the Sharks given injuries to Beast Mtawarira and (briefly) Dale Chadwick, ensuring that he continues to enjoy opportunities to develop as a senior player might prove a little trickier in the months to come.
Firstly, we have to give huge credit to Jake White for spotting du Toit in the under 19 ranks and realising that he had the make-up for senior rugby despite his young age. ” Sometimes you are lucky enough to catch one of these youngsters whose just have the whole package,” White told us back in February when we asked about the player and it’s a credit to the way he has been managed and groomed by the Sharks that du Toit has made such a seamless transition into one of the toughest asks in world rugby – starting as a prop in the premier provincial tournament on offer.
White will now have to decide whether to start fit-again Dale Chadwick ahead of the youngster for this week’s semi-final. While du Toit has come through every challenge thus far with flying colours, you feel that the coach would be remiss to not at least give strong consideration to starting his most experienced man in the position. There’s little doubt, though, that Thomas du Toit is quite probably the long-term future solution to a rather tricky problem at loose head for the Sharks – and that he and Chadwick will together cover the position more than adequately even after Beast’s inevitable departure, whenever it comes.
With the upcoming Currie Cup campaign, though, somewhat bafflingly unlikely to make use of the 23-man squad system it’s going to be interesting to see what the Sharks do with du Toit, especially given that Matt Stevens arrived in Durban this week. With Lourens Adriaanse pretty much guaranteed a start at 3 and Stevens the most likely utility bench prop (given that in a 22-man squad your number 17 has to cover both sides) it looks like the coaches will have a tricky juggling act to perform between Chadwick and du Toit.
While on the one hand it would seem a real shame to not let du Toit push on from here and make a claim for a Bok place during the Currie Cup season, there’s a part of me that looks at the current under 19 and under 21 ranks and can’t help thinking just how much of an asset the 130kg “Tom Bom” would be at that level.Tweet