Thomas Du Toit should have really just been fighting off the jetlag but he looked for all the world yesterday like a guy whose head was still in the clouds after being parachuted onto the South African bench for tomorrow’s Pool B encounter with Namibia.
This isn’t where he expected to be. Du Toit was in Toulouse at the weekend when he got the call to drop everything and fly over to Japan. Trevor Nyanke had torn his right calf against New Zealand in the side’s opener last Saturday and Rassie Erasmus needed a replacement.
Du Toit was only in France in the first place to provide emergency cover for the French champions after Cyril Baille had himself received a belated call-up to national duties. All in all, he’d only been there a week but there had been talk that he would make his Top 14 debut against Pau this Sunday.
Medicals were held and three days of a pre-season were put in before the SOS arrived from the Boks on Sunday morning. By Tuesday he was making for the Far East.
“Obviously the plan is going to be a bit different now,” he laughed.
This isn’t the first sliding door moment in Du Toit’s career. There were reports that Ulster were ready to sign him up as a medical joker before he ended up in Toulouse but he had already spent three months in Ireland some seasons back when he featured for Munster.
Fond memories remain. The Sharks player still keeps in contact with the South African contingent in Limerick, as well as Robin Copeland who is now at Connacht, and he credits his time at Munster for opening his eyes to a different style of rugby.
“I liked it in Limerick a lot, the place we stayed and the boys I was playing with. It was an awesome time. It was very different and I learned a lot. It’s definitely something I reflect a lot on, my time there. It was very important for me to go there and spend some time with coach (Rassie Erasmus) and just a different experience.”