Pieter-Steph du Toit joins Japan's Toyota Verblitz

06 September 2021 - 13:52
By Reuters
Pieter-Steph du Toit is World Rugby's 2019 Player of the Year.
Image: Mike Hewitt/Getty Images Pieter-Steph du Toit is World Rugby's 2019 Player of the Year.

Toyota Verblitz have signed South Africa loose forward Pieter-Steph du Toit and New Zealand lock Patrick Tuipulotu ahead of the new season, the Japanese side said on Monday.

Tuipulotu, who led the Blues to the Super Rugby Trans-Tasman title, signed a contract with New Zealand Rugby (NZR) through to 2025 and the new deal permitted him to move to Japan with a return home slated for mid-2022.

Tuipulotu is reunited with former All Blacks' World Cup-winning coach Steve Hansen, who is now director of rugby at the club, while he will be playing under coach Simon Cron, also a New Zealander.

"I hope I can add value and assist Toyota in their goal of being the best club in Japan," Tuipulotu said in a statement.

"It will be pleasing to see some familiar faces at the club."

Du Toit was named World Rugby Player of the Year in 2019 when the Springboks won the World Cup.

"Toyota Verblitz is a club that is well respected and an institution that reflects hard work, high performance and elite standards.

"It's a privilege to be part of such an environment," he said.

Verblitz lost to the Panasonic Wild Knights in the semi-finals last season.

The new season is scheduled to kick off in January.