Pieter-Steph: The next big thing?
Pieter-Steph: The next big thing?SHARE
At the weekend they were fierce rivals, but very soon they will team up to don the Green and Gold of South Africa.
This is the verdict on two of the most talented young second row forwards in the world, who were in opposing camps when the Sharks became Currie Cup champions with a 33-19 win over Western Province at Newlands.
Eben Etzebeth is already an established Springbok, having played 20 Tests since his debut as a 20-year-old against England in June last year. He will turn 22 in a few days' time, but is now one of the most respected players in the national team.
Pieter-Step du Toit, who turned 21 just a few months ago, has been part of the Bok training squads the last two years, but untimely injuries have reduced him to a sideline role till now.
As a member of the South African Under-20 squad that won the IRB Junior World Champs in 2012, Du Toit has a very bright future ahead of him and based on his performance in the Currie Cup Final at the weekend may well get that first cap on the year-end tour.
Sharks captain Keegan Daniel was not holding back when asked about the young second row forward's performance against Province in Cape Town.
"He has been outstanding," Daniel said, adding: "You go back a year ago and our line-out was probably something that let us down in the [Currie Cup] Final in Durban.
"In this game [the 2013 edition] it was an area where we converted pressure."
Du Toit, who can play lock or flank, has been asked by Bok coach Heyneke Meyer to convert to No.5 lock – an area where South Africa are a bit thin in resources.
Based on the weekend, that transition may be very well near completion.
"He has been taking charge of the line-outs and he will grow and learn," Daniel said of Du Toit.
"I definitely think he is someone who is probably going to partner up with a guy like Eben [Etzebeth] at the Boks in future.
"He is a fantastic talent and we are lucky to have him."
By Jan de Koning, at Newlands