The doors at Newlands will only slam shut next year

The doors at Newlands will only slam shut next year

Pieter-Steph du Toit will miss the start of SA Rugby’s domestic competition‚ which also makes him an unlikely tourist with the Springboks in the Rugby Championship.

Stormers and Western Province coach John Dobson confirmed this week Du Toit is back to full training but is yet to complete his recovery from the near career-ending leg injury he suffered against the Blues earlier this year.

“He’s not ready yet‚” said Dobson. “The truth is we don’t know when he will be ready. Of the 42 people who have had that injury‚ 21 have had amputations. It was predicted to be a six-month injury.

“There is a nerve in that muscle that was damaged that protects the knee. The muscle around that nerve is not growing back fast enough. We are on a three to four-week cycle and it is showing signs of growth.

“The hope is that he only misses the first two games‚” said Dobson of the domestic competition that is supposed to kick off on October 10.

“It will be a blow to the Springboks. He is training full out. He won’t be ready for the Marvel game [against the Lions] or our first two games. The doctors couldn’t give us an exact date but we are looking towards the backend of October at best‚” said Dobson.

The coach admitted the spectre of more injuries looms large at the restart of the season‚ especially for players like Springbok captain Siya Kolisi‚ who have played in just one game this season.

He also confirmed that Newlands will host matches throughout the domestic competition that concludes next year.

SA Rugby announced their playing roster earlier this week and its domestic competition will comprise a double round of home and away fixtures for Western Province‚ the Bulls‚ Lions‚ Sharks‚ Cheetahs‚ Griquas and the Pumas.

It means the fixture list will not be completed this year with matches also earmarked for the Christmas and New Year’s period with the competition drawing to a climax with semifinals on January 16 and the final on January 23.

It means Newlands‚ which was supposed to close its doors this year before Western Province’s move to the Cape Town Stadium‚ can be given a fitting farewell‚ especially if the Cape side gets to host the final. It is hoped that by then crowds will be allowed back in.