Ulster have made a splash this summer, adding the likes of Sam Carter, Matt Faddes and Jack McGrath to their squad as head coach Dan McFarland attempts to turn the province into a consistent contender in the Guinness PRO14 and Heineken Champions Cup titles.
McFarland also added former Worcester Warriors prop Gareth Milasinovich, although the tighthead has been ruled out for a number of months with a cruciate ligament injury. That is something which could leave Ulster short up front.
The province have been boosted by loosehead McGrath not making Ireland’s World Cup squad due to the impressive form of Dave Kilcoyne, but their stocks at tighthead are likely to be tested come the beginning of the season.
According to BBC Sport, Ulster are trying to bring Springbok Thomas du Toit – a 24-year-old capable of playing both sides of the scrum – in as cover during the World Cup.
Initially a loosehead, du Toit transitioned across to the tighthead in the second year of his under-20 eligibility and has since gone on to impress at the position for the Sharks, Munster and the South African national team.
(Continue reading below…)
He has won 10 caps for the Springboks, with nine appearances off the bench in 2018, before making his first start for the side last month against Argentina in Pretoria.
Although the Cape Town native was tipped for inclusion due to his versatility at the set-piece, the former Western Province youth representative missed out on selection for the World Cup and is now believed to be looking for a short-term move to Europe as a result.
If he winds up in Belfast, he would follow in the footsteps of Damian Willemse, who recently agreed to a short-term move to Saracens as injury cover for Alex Goode and Max Malins. Should the move go ahead, du Toit will find himself in a competition with the likes of Marty Moore and Tom O’Toole for the tighthead jersey at Kingspan Stadium.
WATCH: The RugbyPass stadium guide to Yokohama where South Africa will open their World Cup campaign against New Zealand
Sign up to our mailing list for a weekly digest from the wide world of rugby.Sign Up Now