World Rugby player of the year Pieter-Steph du Toit has taken to the farm during the coronavirus pandemic to aid his recovery from the career-threatening leg injury suffered on Super Rugby duty with the Stormers. The 27-year-old back row, whose sumptuous form was at the heart of the Springboks World Cup final triumph in Yokohama in November, has undergone three operations to repair the damage to a leg that could have been amputated, according to Stormers’ team doctor Jason Suter.

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“He had a medical emergency, a haematoma that developed into an acute compartment syndrome,” explained the medic recently. “It’s incredibly rare – there have been only 43 cases listed in the literature. It’s a medical emergency because if you don’t pick it up early they lose blood supply to the leg and they lose the leg.”

Currently hunkered down on the family farm in Riebeek Kasteel outside Cape Town with his wife and baby, as well as his parents and three brothers, the recuperating du Toit has reflected on life outside of the game following the injury that was suffered playing for the Stormers in their late February clash with the visiting Blues. 

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Speaking in an interview published by the Cape Argus, du Toit said: “You have a bit more space here on the farm, but you are still under lockdown and have to abide by the regulations. Only the essential things are being seen to on the farm at his time, so my parents will have to wait and see what will happen when the extended lockdown period comes to end – just like other farmers and everyone else.

“My wife is a physiotherapist so I am lucky in that sense that she can also help me with advice during my rehabilitation while we are in isolation,” he continued, explains how he has been keeping in touch with his team. 

“We dial in a couple of times in the week on the internet, when the coaches speak to the players,” he said. “So, in that sense, it’s nice to keep in touch with everyone even though I am out here on the farm. Otherwise, I make the most of the family time, which includes throwing the odd ball around with my brothers.

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“At this stage, it’s still uncertain (when I’ll be fit). I’m literally taking it day by day. I’m grateful to have my young family, my parents and brothers with me during this time. I would like to urge everyone to adhere to the social distancing rules and to stay indoors and be safe.”

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