Springboks star Pieter-Steph du Toit reveals the secrets to Rugby World Cup success


Springboks star, Pieter-Steph du Toit, has revealed the secrets to South Africa’s recent World Cup win, highlighting how tough love, family and faith paved the way for the side’s clinching of the title.

Speaking exclusively on ex-Scotland international Jim Hamilton’s Big Jim Show, the usually tight-lipped du Toit – who was also one of the standout players of South Africa’s Rugby World Cup 2023 win – has opened up on his glittering career.

With the upcoming release on RugbyPass TV of the second season of Chasing the Sun, a behind-the-scenes view of the Springbok World Cup campaign, du Toit offered his own insights on the Springbok’s approach, Rassie Erasmus and how he got the best out of the squad.

“The most uncomfortable stuff, we speak about, we address them and try to get solutions for it, the team is bigger than the individual and bigger than anything in that room and any part of that squad and you want the team to do well as well,” Du Toit said.

“That’s what the management does so well, they get you to buy into the plan, the whole system.

“He [Erasmus} pushes you to the limit and he gets under your skin, sometimes he trains with you, he pushes your buttons and says things that aren’t true and you want to always prove him wrong.”

However, du Toit went on to say how the tough environment is balanced by allowing players more freedom and family closeness, which generates high performance on the field.

“Because it’s such a draining, but healthy high-performance environment, being able to let our families stay with us is unbelievable…before the RWC final, my wife and two children slept in the same room as me, we’ve got a saying on ‘ownership’ where you be responsible, to make the right decisions to make you perform on Saturday.”

A crucial moment in Chasing the Sun season two is South Africa’s game against England in the semi-final. Strong favourites going into the match, the Springboks were down at half-time. The usually reserved du Toit then gives a rousing speech to his teammates, inspiring them to win the game.

Regarding this, he said to Hamilton:

“It’s something I haven’t experienced in a changing room, we always go into a changing room with plans…Rassie came in and said what he had to say, took the reserves into a room next door and the coaches [were] standing around the table and everyone was sitting there. It’s not what we’re used to, it’s not our system, we’ve got to make plans. Discussions going on, it wasn’t planned, it was something that came up, I don’t always talk that much.

“I’m a strong believer that actions speak louder than words, the way you play on the field and the way you live your life must tell you the morals of this guy. If you do that, nothing has to be said.”

Openside flanker, du Toit, was one of the standout stars of last year’s tournament. He made an impressive 28 tackles in the Final, picking up the ‘player-of-the-match’ accolade on the way to capturing rugby’s ultimate crown, in a narrow 12-11 win over the All Blacks.

Talking Hamilton through the feeling when the final whistle went, du Toit said:

“You can’t believe what’s going on…It’s almost so big you can’t think, you just take it in…it’s so overwhelming, you don’t have the emotions to explain it, to express yourself, it’s shock. I’ve never ever dreamt about it or saw how this road would end up or what’s going to come with it, but I’m so grateful it worked out.”

A proud South African, du Toit also explained more about what representing his country means to him:

“Highest highs you can reach, it’s higher than you can imagine. The satisfaction you get, the joy you put on people’s faces for what we’ve achieved…You can’t buy it, it’s the work you put in the back and no one sees, the satisfaction you get, you can’t measure it. It’s an honour and a privilege.”

Despite the highs of the win, du Toit also opened up to Hamilton on his career setbacks and how they’ve shaped him to be the player he is today. He credits his upbringing, family and faith as crucial in helping him bounce back:

“It’s part of the game…I’m not going to lie down there, it’s not who I am, it’s not the way I was brought up…You get used to the pain, one day you’ll wake up and miss it. It’s part of the game.

“My dad is one of the hardest workers that I know, and that’s where I learnt my example from him, where to work hard, lead by example and that actions speak louder than words…My mum, since I turned professional, she comes to as many games as possible, the support I get from her is unbelievable. Another thing that helps me is my faith, it carries me a long way, all the way. I’m just fortunate everything has worked out the way it has worked out.”

Asked by Hamilton about representing the Springboks in the 2027 tournament to challenge for a historic hat trick of wins, du Toit revealed his desire to defend the title:

“I’ll try my best, everyone’s getting older. If I’m good enough and the body allows me and if I still enjoy it, I’ll definitely give it my best. How I feel now, I want to, but I also. I don’t want to go there and pick up a number, and not add any value in the way I want to add value.”

Pieter-Steph du Toit’s exclusive interview with Jim Hamilton on the Big Jim Show was released on the 10th May, 2024. In addition, the first season of the highly acclaimed five-part documentary Chasing the Sun is also now available for viewers to watch globally, and for free, on RugbyPass TV. The second season is set to arrive in August 2024.

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