Tour success vital for beleaguered Boks
REACTION: SA Rugby Player of the Year Pieter-Steph du Toit is hoping that the Springboks' end-of-year tour will be a springboard to success leading up to the 2019 World Cup.
The Springboks have struggled under head coach Allister Coetzee in 2016. They have only won four of their nine games so far this year and have suffered a record 15-57 defeat at the hands of the All Blacks in Durban in their final outing in this year's Rugby Championship.
The Boks only picked up two wins out of their six matches in that tournament and before that they suffered their first-ever home defeat to Ireland in Cape Town in June.
Despite their terrible form, Du Toit came out in defence of the Bok management team and believes a successful tour in November will lead to a brighter future.
"The coaches have done a great job." said Du Toit.
"The coaches, most of the time, actually try and protect us from everything to allow us to focus and I need to honour them for that as well.
"It’s been a tough time - hopefully we can finish the year on high and take it forward to the next year and into the World Cup in 2019 [Japan]."
Meanwhile, Du Toit said that winning the South African Rugby Player of the Year award was a dream come true and one of the biggest achievements of his career.
"It's definitely one of the biggest nights [Monday] of my life. It's more than a dream coming true to me. I didn’t expect it at all, I can’t believe it and I just want to thank everyone for supporting me," he said.
It was the second year in a row that a lock walked away with the award after Lodewyk de Jager won last year’s prize and Du Toit joked that he would like to see the locks defend the award next year.
"Hopefully going forward the locks can win this. It is a great honour for me to win this," Du Toit added.
The Springboks face the Barbarians at Wembley on November 5, England at Twickenham on November 12, Italy in Florence on November 19 and Wales in Cardiff on November 26.
By Josh Isaacson