Pieter-Steph du Toit: One day, you are going to wake up and miss the pain

Pieter-Steph du Toit: One day, you are going to wake up and miss the pain

Pieter-Steph du Toit's performance at the 2023 Rugby World Cup etched his name in history as one of the hardest men in World Rugby.

The flanker was there at the beginning. After one of the more difficult periods in Springbok history, Rassie Erasmus' men earned a watershed victory against the All Blacks in Wellington in 2018. Du Tiot's emotional reaction was clear for all to see, tears streaming down his face as he embraced his teammates. And so the Boks' redemption arc began.

Five years later, du Toit tapped into that energy for the 2023 Rugby World Cup final against their old foe. Living up to his moniker - the Malmesbury Missile - he zeroed in on Beauden Barrett in particular, flattening him with two bone-crunching hits. In total, du Toit went on to make an incredible 28 tackles on his way to earning the Man of the Match accolade.

Not that he remembers many of them. . .  

"In that final, I remember one tackle," the 31-year-old told Jim Hamilton on RugbyPass TV.

"I was so focused on the next job. You did the job, put it behind you and moved on to the next job. You've got to keep pushing. The other stuff is so physically draining, you have to keep going forward and thinking about the next job."

Many defenders quake in their boots at the prospect of facing the All Blacks' slick brand of running rugby, but not du Toit.

"They play an attractive brand of rugby and that suits them, they play to their strengths," he continued.

"I like defence, it's nice to play against them because they give you opportunities to tackle." 

All this while running around with his father's 66-year-old hamstring tendon in his knee. Du Toit went on to list the plethora of injuries he's had during his career - one where he nearly lost his leg - but ultimately, they've left a man made of granite in both mind and stature. 

"If you play for the Springboks, you've got to push yourself until you physically can't go anymore," continued the double World Cup winner.

"That's how I feel. You put your health and your body aside, that's consequences for later in your life.

"I'm not going to lie down, that's not who I am, that's not how I was brought up. Rugby players are a different breed. You get used to the pain. One day, you are going to wake up and miss the pain." 

With an attitude like this and the actions to back them up, it's no wonder YouTube comments are awash with Chuck Norris-esque jokes like "PSDT makes onions cry".

Never change, PSDT, never change.

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