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World player of the year Du Toit staying at Stormers

Du Toit holds the Rugby World Cup trophy after South Africa defeated England in the final in Japan last November
Du Toit holds the Rugby World Cup trophy after South Africa defeated England in the final in Japan last November Anne-Christine POUJOULAT AFP/File
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Johannesburg (AFP)

World Rugby Player of the Year Pieter-Steph du Toit has opted to remain at South African club the Western Stormers, ending speculation of a big-money move to France or Japan.

A statement from the Cape Town-based Super Rugby outfit released Thursday said the 27-year-old loose forward had withdrawn a contract termination notification made last week.

When SA Rugby announced coronavirus-induced pay cuts for all local-based stars, they were given three weeks to choose between remaining at their clubs or moving abroad.

The Stormers added that the 2019 World Cup-winning Springbok will stay with them at least until after the British and Irish Lions tour of South Africa, scheduled for July-August 2021.

"Pieter-Steph wanted to stay at Western (Stormers) Province, he is a true team man who is integral to our plans," said board member Andre van der Veen.

The South African media reported that Montpellier had offered Du Toit 75 million rand ($4.2mn/3.9mn euros) for a three-year deal, but the French club denied any interest.

Several Japanese sides were also reportedly interested in the two-metre, 120-kilogramme flanker, whose younger brother, Johan, is another loose forward in the Stormers squad.

Formerly a lock, Du Toit was first capped against Wales in 2013 and has represented three-time world champions South Africa 55 times, scoring five tries.

He and fellow back-row forward Duane Vermeulen were the only Springbok forwards to play the full 80 minutes in the 2019 World Cup final, which they won 32-12 against England in Japan.

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