TOKYO, Nov 3 (Reuters) - South African flanker Pieter-Steph du Toit was named World Rugby player of the year at a glitzy ceremony in Tokyo on Sunday, with Rassie Erasmus claiming the coaches’ award, fresh from securing the World Cup title on Saturday.
Du Toit was a colossus for the Springboks during the World Cup and dominated the breakdown during the final win over England, helping South Africa secure seven turnovers and proving a menace for the English throughout the match.
He also made 11 tackles and set up fellow player of the year nominee Cheslin Kolbe for the decisive final try in the 32-12 win.
Erasmus, who will be stepping down as South Africa coach to return to his role as the country’s director of rugby, not only secured the Springboks’ third World Cup title but also led them to a first Rugby Championship win since 2009.
Under Erasmus, South Africa have only lost once in 2019, in the pool stages to old rivals New Zealand.
When he took over in March 2018, South Africa were ranked seventh in the world but they have returned to their traditional forwards-based game with extraordinary results.
Unsurprisingly, given their success over the past 12 months, South Africa also collected the team of the year award. (Reporting by Jack Tarrant Editing by Toby Davis)