Ireland legend hails Springboks’ medical miracle as the ‘best in the world’

Colin Newboult
Ex-Ireland captain Brian O'Driscoll and Springboks captain Siya Kolisi and flanker Pieter-Steph du Toit.

Ex-Ireland captain Brian O'Driscoll and Springboks captain Siya Kolisi and flanker Pieter-Steph du Toit.

Ireland legend Brian O’Driscoll was absolutely staggered by the performance of Pieter-Steph du Toit during the Rugby World Cup final.

The Springbok back-rower was deservedly named man of the match following their victory over New Zealand in the showpiece event.

Du Toit was everywhere during the 12-11 triumph and finished the match with an incredible 28 tackles completed.

He also carried for 27 metres and won a turnover during the encounter as South Africa lifted the Webb Ellis Cup for a record fourth time.

Serious injuries

The efforts of the flanker are even more remarkable when you consider the injuries he has sustained throughout his career.

Du Toit has torn his anterior cruciate ligament twice, with the second one set to rule him out of the 2015 World Cup before his father donated his tendon to aid the recovery.

The 31-year-old then almost lost his leg in 2020 following a haematoma that developed into acute compartment syndrome.

It has therefore left O’Driscoll in awe of the Springbok flanker, who became a two-time world champion on Saturday.

“He’s always good. He’s playing with his dad’s tendon. I didn’t even know you could get tendons from someone else,” the Ireland legend told the Off The Ball podcast.

“He’s going around like it’s not a 60-year-old tendon in his leg. That performance on top of that knowledge beggars belief.”

Consistently good

Despite South Africa’s World Cup win, controversially just one player from their side made it into World Rugby’s Dream Team for 2023.

Eben Etzebeth was the only individual to be selected in the XV, and O’Driscoll felt that Du Toit should have been in contention.

“He was so good throughout the tournament, not just in the final. He is a really, really phenomenal rugby player,” he added.

“When (Cheslin) Kolbe went in the bin, he went out on the wing and he made a massive hit on (Jordie) Barrett when they turned the ball over. Barrett didn’t see him coming, he came flying in.

“The capacity to even read that, but also the speed and agility to get there, and the timing… he’s the best number six in the world.”

READ MORE: Brian O’Driscoll ranks the world champion Springboks against the 2015 All Blacks side