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Dublin: 13 °C Tuesday 26 May, 2020

World player of the year Pieter-Steph du Toit terminates contract in South Africa

The World Cup winner has exited his deal with Western Province.

WESTERN PROVINCE AND the Stormers have indicated they will attempt to retain flanker Pieter-Steph du Toit despite confirming that the World Rugby player of the year has terminated his contract.

Rugby players in South Africa were given a 21-day window up until Thursday night in which they could cancel their contracts or else face pay cuts of up to 43% due to the financial impact of the Covid-19 crisis on South Africa rugby.

World Cup-winning Springbok back row du Toit, who was recently linked with a move to French club Montpellier, has opted to cancel his contract with Western Province but it remains unclear if he will leave South Africa.

pieter-steph-du-toit-lifts-the-webb-ellis-trophy Du Toit helped the Boks to the World Cup last year. Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

Earlier this month, Montpellier vehemently denied that they had made an offer to du Toit, stating that the club was “in no way engaged in any negotiations with this player.”

Western Province Rugby, which is represented in Super Rugby by the Stormers, confirmed that the majority of their squad, including Springboks captain Siya Kolisi, have committed to remaining in Cape Town, but du Toit was among those to exit his contract.

“There were just three players – Pieter-Steph du Toit, Cobus Wiese and Jean-Luc du Plessis – who submitted termination notices before the deadline on May 14,” reads a statement.

“As previously indicated by WP Rugby, the existing contracts between the players and the Company are considered as binding and WP Rugby has reserved the right to hold players to these contracts or exercise other rights that may be held.

“These options will be discussed with the players that have purportedly cancelled their contracts and more information about the course of action will be provided in future.”

It now remains to be seen if du Toit negotiates a new deal with Western Province Rugby or opts for a move elsewhere. 

Prior to the Covid-19 outbreak, Stormers fullback Dillyn Lleyds had agreed to join Ronan O’Gara’s La Rochelle in France and prop Wilco Louw had signed for Harlequins in England. 

Elsewhere, Springboks hooker Malcom Marx was one of five players who opted to cancel their contracts with the Lions.

Marx will return to Japan’s Top League when the Covid-19 restrictions lift, while Ruan Vermaak, Tyrone Green, Shaun Reynolds and Neil de Bruin also terminated their contracts with the Lions.

“There is always a big sense of loss and sadness when we lose family members. We wish them well on their journey ahead and thank them for some very special times spent with the Lions,” said CEO Rudolf Straeuli.

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Murray Kinsella

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