The last of Du Toit’s 14 caps came in the second Test of the Castle Lager Incoming Series against Wales, and with every player in the wider national training group determined to stake a claim for a place in Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber’s Rugby World Cup squad next year, Du Toit said this was an important opportunity for him personally.
“It’s always a massive honour to play for the Springboks,” said Du Toit.
“It is a big moment to pull the jersey over one’s head, so I’d like to grab this opportunity with both hands and give my best on the field.”
The big prop said the experience he learned a lot from leading the SA ‘A’ team was invaluable and believed it would set him in good stead as he continues to grow as a player.
“Being in the leadership role in such is a team is obviously a step up from being Sharks captain because it is a bigger environment and there’s variety of players from different unions and different backgrounds,” said Du Toit.
“I really enjoyed it, and it was good to have a few guys that have previously been in leadership roles that helped out quite a bit. I think everyone understands and knows the fact that when you get to this level there's a step up.”
Du Toit said the Boks can expect a tough battle against the England pack: “They have an outstanding scrum, and they managed to get a lot of scrum penalties in their last few games. Their pack is also big, strong and well prepared, but that said, we also have a good pack, so it is going to be a good match-up.”
With former Springbok scrum coach Matt Proudfoot on the England coaching team, Du Toit said while he may have some insight into the players, the Bok pack has evolved since 2019.
“It’s clearly an advantage that Matt has worked with some of the Springbok forwards before, but just as he knows a fair bit about us and what makes us tick, we know him. I think our forwards have developed and grown a lot in the last few years as well though, so it will be different to 2019,” said Du Toit.
Saturday’s match will mark the last Test for both the Springboks and England for the year, and Du Toit had no doubt this would spice up the clash.
“It's a massive opportunity,” said Du Toit. “This is the last time we're going to be together as a group for about six or seven months, so it will be in the back of our minds, and we all want to play a good game and hopefully get the result.”
The Boks had a rest day on Thursday and will return to the training field on Friday. Saturday’s match kicks off at 19h30 (SA time) and will be broadcast live on SuperSport.