robdylan

Patience needed with du Toit


Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Currie Cup, Original Content, Sharks, Super Rugby on 3 Sep 2015 at 10:06
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Thomas du Toit has been in the spotlight a fair bit so far this Currie Cup season as his tricky conversion to tight head prop plays out at senior level. With the 20-year-old behemoth, perhaps not surprisingly, struggling to adapt to the technical intricacies of the more difficult scrumming position, many have questioned the wisdom of pursuing the move in the first place.

Bursting onto the scene as a raw 19-year-old last year, du Toit was fantastic as a debutant at loosehead and while concerns around mobility and weights have prompted the move to the opposite side of the scrum, it would take a brave man to argue that on current form, he isn’t hands down the best loosehead available to this depleted Sharks squad. The desire to switch position, though, has come from the player himself and one can tell that his aims are perhaps a little loftier than simply establishing himself as first choice in the Currie Cup squad; in interviews this week, the youngster has expressed an admiration for Jannie du Plessis as player and role model and it is reasonably straightforward to read between the lines and determine that du Toit sees himself as natural successor to the Bethlehem doctor, in the number 3 jersey for both the Sharks and the Springboks.

That Thomas du Toit wants to be a Bok goes without saying and as one of the most talented players to have emerged on the local scene in a number of years, I would argue that it’s a question of “when”, not “if”, that call up comes. Having a look at the competition (and the lack of all that many “monster” tightheads) you can’t really blame him for seeing an easier route to green and gold should he specialise at 3; Beast Mtawarira, Trevor Nyakane and the bizarrely underrated Lizo Gqoboka are all still very much in the national frame at 1 and du Toit arguably stands little chance of unseating the former even at provincial level.

Where things get complicated is that the Sharks, in the midst of yet another slump, need to rely heavily on those players in their squad with proven start quality. Du Toit stands head and shoulders above the rest in this category and as such they simply cannot afford to not involve him in the senior side – even if the under 21 ranks might be a more suitable place to learn his new position. Picking him at loosehead for the remainder of the season would be a short term move and to Gary Gold and John Smit’s credit, they seem hell-bent on not making any such moves (much to impatient fans’ chagrin!). The initial plan was for Thomas, in “super sub” role, to cover both positions (but primarily tighthead) off the bench, allowing him to adjust to the position after Lourens Adriaanse had done the necessary first half damage. Adriaanse’s season-curtailing injury has exposed a shocking lack of depth at prop and just as we can question the absence of a senior tighthead in the ranks to stand in for Adriaanse, we should question why nobody other than du Toit is able to step up and pressure the shaky Dale Chadwick on the other side of the scrum.

As fans, though, we need to separate the Sharks’ lack of planning from the phenomenal heart, character and undoubted talent of Thomas du Toit. This young man is a superstar in every sense of the word and we are proud that he has chosen to make Durban his home. He needs out backing, our patience and all of our support as he turns himself into the next great South African tighthead prop.



51 Comments

  • No problem backing the Tank. Wish he had the luxury of learning his craft in a junior team but he seems to have the attitude to handle a trial by fire. Good luck Thomas!

  • Comment 1, posted at 03.09.15 10:11:17 by vanmartin Reply
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  • Team has been announced as well

  • Comment 2, posted at 03.09.15 10:11:19 by JarsonX Reply
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  • @JarsonX (Comment 2) : and I published it 5 minutes before your less-than-helpful comment :)

  • Comment 3, posted at 03.09.15 10:17:01 by robdylan Reply
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  • I have no problem with DuToit wanting to play tighthead, i believe he played there at school? So its just a case of getting used to senior scrums there. And surely this is where every possible scrum doctor available should be used by the Sharks to fix their scrum. There are perhaps max 10-15 scrums in a game so for DuToit to have to play u21 for max 10 scrums seems of little value as he offers a lot around the park. For me though if he wants to play tight he must get picked because he is the best tighthead we have…not because he is the best loosehead and we are trying something.

  • Comment 4, posted at 03.09.15 10:17:02 by SheldonK Reply

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  • @SheldonK (Comment 4) : well, I think the fact that he’s benching now, rather than starting at loosehead, shows that they’re not saying he’s the best tighthead we have.

  • Comment 5, posted at 03.09.15 10:18:10 by robdylan Reply
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  • Couldn’t agree more Thomas has the heart that more players in this team need. And bar anything physical preventing him there is no reason for him not to realize his goal. Plus his ambition determination and desire to be the best will get him there. The only thing he lacks a of all atributes required for success is time. Skills are learned. And mastery comes with practice.

  • Comment 6, posted at 03.09.15 10:19:13 by coolfusion Reply

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  • @robdylan (Comment 3) : Not my fault if your app took it’s time giving me a notification :wink:

  • Comment 7, posted at 03.09.15 10:21:18 by JarsonX Reply
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  • @vanmartin (Comment 1) : For me it’s a pity he couldn’t do this with a great mentor like Jannie and behind a strong and disciplined pack. But maybe the adversity will make him even stronger even if the learning period may be extended.

  • Comment 8, posted at 03.09.15 10:22:17 by coolfusion Reply

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  • To add something more ‘useful’ I have no issue with anything the Sharks attempt to do whether experimenting with combos, position switches or anything else for that matter :mrgreen:

  • Comment 9, posted at 03.09.15 10:24:21 by JarsonX Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 5) : Yeh it seems so and im happy to give Engelbrecht a go (although apparently he looked very useful at hooker in a warm up game so perhaps a possibility there?) I also think the reason that Thomas is benching is that the Sharks are finally hopefully maybe realising that the impact guys make off the bench is extremely important. Also SARU’s retarded 22man teams means u need a prp on the bench that can cover both sides of the scrum.

  • Comment 10, posted at 03.09.15 10:25:02 by SheldonK Reply

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  • @coolfusion (Comment 8) : the tighthead is never behind the pack :)

  • Comment 11, posted at 03.09.15 10:25:56 by robdylan Reply
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  • What is os du randt doing these days or Ollie. Bring in a consultant. Replace our other consultant Brendan with some real ones. While you are at it bring in Andrews for the locks too.

  • Comment 12, posted at 03.09.15 10:26:36 by coolfusion Reply

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  • @JarsonX (Comment 9) : We can only improve from here on in or at least I hope so :o pps:

  • Comment 13, posted at 03.09.15 10:28:53 by JarsonX Reply
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  • Just an aside on this thread…the power, technical ability of the locks make a massive difference when it comes to scrum time. I just feel that at the Sharks we are perhaps a little too harsh (except when they bind like an idiot) on our props not performing at scrum time. The Sharks scrum looked a lot better with Giant at lock during super rugby and i just cant help but feel that playing the likes of Wentzel and Astle at lock may help our lineouts but to the detriment of our scrums. Stephan Lewies is decent but by no means exceptional when it comes to scrumming but bar him which locks at the Sharks can we say would definitely help us as a scrumming unit? U think the WP scrum looked good this year, wait till they have Eztebeth and PSDT at lock next year keeping the props tight and in line.

  • Comment 14, posted at 03.09.15 10:31:45 by SheldonK Reply

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  • @robdylan (Comment 11) : Haha funny guy. You know what I mean. …

  • Comment 15, posted at 03.09.15 10:32:30 by coolfusion Reply

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  • @robdylan (Comment 11) : What is Cobus Visagie doing these days? He could train our props….

  • Comment 16, posted at 03.09.15 10:33:10 by coolfusion Reply

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  • If I had the budget I would have wp NEL and Thomas at tighthead or Herbst and du toit. Beast and Coenie at loosehead.

  • Comment 17, posted at 03.09.15 10:40:25 by coolfusion Reply

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  • @coolfusion (Comment 17) : Speaking of Coenie…and assuming he is still alive after the WC…what position have the Sharks signed him as? tight or loose?

  • Comment 18, posted at 03.09.15 10:50:30 by SheldonK Reply

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  • @SheldonK (Comment 18) : they’ve signed him as PR Coup

  • Comment 19, posted at 03.09.15 10:51:38 by robdylan Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 19) : Ah ok well thats fair enough then.

  • Comment 20, posted at 03.09.15 11:14:49 by SheldonK Reply

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  • @SheldonK (Comment 18) : Ja no specific mention of position just talk about his versatility so I would imagine he will be utility forward. The articles all however state ” we are delighted to announce the signing of springbok loosehead….”

  • Comment 21, posted at 03.09.15 11:43:19 by coolfusion Reply

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  • @SheldonK (Comment 10) : The same case as with Lambie. Why does the prop that can play on both sides HAVE to be on the bench?

  • Comment 22, posted at 03.09.15 11:47:25 by Ben Reply
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  • @Ben (Comment 22) : Bru where would you like him to be in the change room,or on the wing.

  • Comment 23, posted at 03.09.15 11:53:58 by The hound Reply
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  • @The hound (Comment 23) : What are you on about?

  • Comment 24, posted at 03.09.15 12:03:15 by Ben Reply
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  • @Ben (Comment 24) : ” Why does the prop that can play on both sides HAVE to be on the bench?” thats what I’m on about,where do you want him to be?
    Shite what are you on about.

  • Comment 25, posted at 03.09.15 12:05:50 by The hound Reply
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  • @Ben (Comment 22) : Well not the same as Lambie. I was referring to the CC where there is only 22man squads so ur bench prop has to be able to play both sides so if an injury he can slot in. In all other comps u have 23man squads so a full front row on the bench so props dont need to be able to play both sides.

  • Comment 26, posted at 03.09.15 12:06:07 by SheldonK Reply

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  • @SheldonK (Comment 10) : Well I’m happy that we grow these utility forwards and as you say the rules will mean we need to find ways to do more with less. Engelbrecht at hooker and prop would also be good for us. Especially if he is very mobile and a good carrier.

  • Comment 27, posted at 03.09.15 12:09:03 by coolfusion Reply

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  • @The hound (Comment 25) : @SheldonK (Comment 26) : I know exactly what you are talking about. If Thomas starts at 3 and Engelbrecht is on the bench, for example. If Chadwick gets injured, Thomas can move to 1 and Engelbrecht can come on at 3. If Thomas gets injured then Engelbrecht can come on at 3. So why does Thomas have to be on the bench because he can play on both sides? That’s my point.

  • Comment 28, posted at 03.09.15 12:09:43 by Ben Reply
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  • @Ben (Comment 28) : All you need is one prop between the three that can play on both sides. He doesn’t necessarily have to be on the bench.

  • Comment 29, posted at 03.09.15 12:11:03 by Ben Reply
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  • @The hound (Comment 25) : @Ben (Comment 28) : @Ben (Comment 29) : I hope that is simple enough for you to understand. :roll:

  • Comment 30, posted at 03.09.15 12:11:48 by Ben Reply
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  • Who the heck is helping, coaching and mentoring this man? I unfortunately will not rant and rave about him at tighthead until the Sharks put in place a solid plan and the necessary support to help this brilliant loosehead be as good a tighthead. I’m done with blind support for this management. I won’t sit back and keep quiet whilst they mess up a future Star’s career and love for the Sharks.

  • Comment 31, posted at 03.09.15 12:14:42 by GreatSharksays Reply

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  • @GreatSharksays (Comment 31) : by all accounts, he’s working with Pieter de Villiers. I don’t think he lacks for support – you just have to accept that a transition like this takes time.

    Thomas will be better for the beating he’s taking now.

  • Comment 32, posted at 03.09.15 12:16:19 by robdylan Reply
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  • @SheldonK (Comment 26) : @coolfusion (Comment 27) : not a big fan of props that can play both sides as it usually mean they’re not really good enough to make the team in either but is “versatile” so they get a place on the bench!
    Ja I know in this competition you must have a prop that can play both sides but the decision by SA rugby to stick to 22 player teams is very short sighted!!!!!

  • Comment 33, posted at 03.09.15 12:22:17 by JD Reply
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  • @Ben (Comment 30) : I understand,but the point is why do you need replacement prop
    .Initially the replacement was used only in case of an injury,Mac was the first coach to see the value in fresh prop legs towards the end of the game,and he started substituting,Garvey and Kempson with Ollie and gained a huge advantage.
    Soon it became common practice,and you can set your watch on Meyer substituting not only the props but the hooker as well,at exactly the same minute every game.Some times with disastrous results,as in his substitution of Bismark.
    This is usually because a front rower, who has been subbed can return if he is needed.
    In Currie Cup you are only allowed one prop on the bench and he should technically on be used for an injury,so we don’t have uncontested scrums.Therefore the guy on the bench is designated as a prop who can play both sides.

  • Comment 34, posted at 03.09.15 12:25:43 by The hound Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 32) : The Bok scrum coach? Is he based in Durban? How much time does he spend with him if he must also coach other players all over the country? Sharks must get a scrum coach that dedicates at least 2 days a week with our guys. If it’s the Bok coach, sorry not good enough for me.

  • Comment 35, posted at 03.09.15 12:26:13 by GreatSharksays Reply

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  • @GreatSharksays (Comment 31) : Gary Gold’s the Bok forward coach under Pieter de Villiers,so surely it must be him

  • Comment 36, posted at 03.09.15 12:28:06 by The hound Reply
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  • @GreatSharksays (Comment 31) : boet calm down Thomas decided to move to 3, so no one is messing up his career it’s his own doing. Seems to me as if the Sharks is helping him to achieve what he decided to do but if it fails only the person that made the decision (a.k.a Thomas du Toit) can be blamed not the Sharks!!!!!!!!!

  • Comment 37, posted at 03.09.15 12:29:04 by JD Reply
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  • @The hound (Comment 34) : My point is, if Thomas is a better 3 than Engelbrecht (which I’m not saying he is) then surely you won’t bench Thomas just because he can play on both sides.

  • Comment 38, posted at 03.09.15 12:30:53 by Ben Reply
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  • @Ben (Comment 38) : And that’s where my reference to Lambie comes in. If Lambie is a better 10 than Pollard (which I am saying he is :) ) then why must Lambie be on the bench just because he can cover 10 and 15?

  • Comment 39, posted at 03.09.15 12:33:36 by Ben Reply
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  • Thanks Rob, great article. I completely agree, we need to support Thomas. He is a massive talent for us and maybe more importantly, a loyal Sharks man.

  • Comment 40, posted at 03.09.15 12:35:48 by Letgo Reply
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  • @The hound (Comment 36) : think you need a specialist scrum technique coach someone like Ballie Swart or Pieter de Villiers or even maybe John Smit.

  • Comment 41, posted at 03.09.15 12:36:56 by JD Reply
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  • @Ben (Comment 38) : that’s just it I do not think Thomas is currently better than Engelbrecht at 3 so if he starts he must surely start as loose head.

  • Comment 42, posted at 03.09.15 12:39:18 by JD Reply
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  • @JD (Comment 37) : I read the Sharks initiated the move. The boy will stick to loosehead where he will become the best in the world.

  • Comment 43, posted at 03.09.15 12:40:36 by GreatSharksays Reply

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  • @JD (Comment 42) : Which is not my point.

  • Comment 44, posted at 03.09.15 12:40:56 by Ben Reply
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  • @JD (Comment 42) : But if he still wished to play loosehead then he could start at 1 and Chadwick could be on the bench. Thomas doesn’t NEED to be on the bench just because he can play on both sides.

  • Comment 45, posted at 03.09.15 12:42:56 by Ben Reply
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  • @Ben (Comment 45) : ja I do agree with you he does not need to be on the bench and I would like him to start at loose head.

  • Comment 46, posted at 03.09.15 12:49:53 by JD Reply
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  • @GreatSharksays (Comment 43) : did you read the article Rob wrote? Just a quick quote: “The desire to switch position, though, has come from the player himself……”

  • Comment 47, posted at 03.09.15 12:52:31 by JD Reply
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  • @Ben (Comment 38) : What the Sharks are trying to do is create an impact in 2nd half off the bench and at the same time get Thomas up to speed at tighthead, hence playing him off the bench. They would rather he come on early in 2nd half and create an impact on either side of the scrum (Preferably tighthead). Lambie was benched for a number of reason but main one being Meyer wanted Pollard to be the 10, nothing to do with Lambie covering both- the fact that he covered both impacted on who else was included on the bench. Your bench players need to be versatile to cover a number of positions as well as being able to either win a game or close out a game. The inclusion of too many specialists means substitutions just for the sake of making a sub without any thought to how they would effect the outcome.

  • Comment 48, posted at 03.09.15 12:52:37 by SheldonK Reply

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  • @SheldonK (Comment 48) : Dude, you said “Also SARU’s retarded 22man teams means u need a prop on the bench that can cover both sides of the scrum.”

    I’m just pointing out to you that that’s not true. You only need one of the three to be able to play on both sides. He doesn’t NEED to be on the bench.

  • Comment 49, posted at 03.09.15 12:59:41 by Ben Reply
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  • @Ben (Comment 49) : Yeh look i do understand what u are saying in that a guy starting can play both sides. Its not ideal but yes it would work. Id just prefer to have the option off the bench of replacing either guy rather than having to keep 1 guy on. But yes technically he can start., In the same way as your 2nd hooker can start at flank and another scrummy start at wing.

  • Comment 50, posted at 03.09.15 13:22:59 by SheldonK Reply

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  • Thomas Du Toit will become a Bok Legend….absolute beast….

  • Comment 51, posted at 03.09.15 16:29:38 by grant10 Reply

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