World Rugby Player of the Year Pieter-Steph du Toit has reversed his decision to leave South African Super Rugby side, the Stormers, after initially giving notice he would terminate his contract.
A statement from the Cape Town-based outfit said the 27-year-old loose forward has withdrawn a contract termination notification made last week.
The announcement ends the intense speculation over du Toit’s future with a big-money move to France or Japan previously touted. The Stormers revealed that the 2019 World Cup winner will stay with them at least until after the British and Irish Lions tour of South Africa, scheduled for July-August 2021.
“Pieter-Steph is an important team member,” Stormers coach John Dobson said in a statement on Thursday.
“His extraordinary work rate coupled with his ball carrying skills, makes our forward pack even more formidable.
“The rehabilitation on his [thigh] injury is progressing well and we are looking forward to seeing him in a Stormers jersey again when we get back on the field.
“We are proud as a union of our achievement of contracting eight Rugby World Cup-winning Springboks in the province and keeping them in the country.”
Rugby players in South Africa had been given a 21-day window to opt-out of their current contracts and become free agents in light of pay cuts forced on them by South African Rugby in a bid to save R1.2-billion ($US66.89 million) in expenditure in 2020. Players now face cuts of between 24% and 43% of their salaries between now and December.
South African media reported that Montpellier had offered Du Toit 75 million rand ($4.2mn/3.9mn euros) for a three-year deal, but the French club denied any interest.
Several Japanese sides were also reportedly interested in the 6ft 6.5″, 120-kilogramme flanker, whose younger brother, Johan, is another loose forward in the Stormers squad.
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