A Maple Ridge man is with Team Canada at the Rugby World Cup in Japan.
Guiseppe du Toit was in the lineup for a 66-7 drubbing at the hands of rugby powerhouse South Africa on Tuesday morning in Kobe. He came off the bench in the second half of the lopsided contest, in which Canada was down to 14 players due to a red card.
— Toronto Arrows Rugby Club (@TorontoArrows) October 8, 2019
Du Toit calls Maple Ridge his hometown, and played rugby for the Ridge Meadows Bruins Rugby Club up to the under-16 age level. Then he transferred to play high school sports at rugby powerhouse Shawnigan Lake, and later attended the University of Victoria. The centre plays professional rugby for the Toronto Arrows of Major League Rugby (MLR), a North America wide rugby union pro league.
He was called up to Team Canada as an injury replacement on Sept. 27. Du Toit was part of the pre-Rugby World Cup training group, and had been training in Langford at Rugby Canada’s National Training Centre on standby. He has 13 caps for Canada after making his debut for the national team against Chile in the 2017 Americas Rugby Championship.
According to the Arrows website, du Toit, 24, was studying at UVic when he got the call from the coaching staff, telling him he would be on the next plane to Japan.
“The next morning I was on my way to the airport by 6 a.m. It was a quick turnaround – I packed up my life in Victoria, and now I’m here across the world,” he said.
“The message I received from our coaches was that I should come here ready to play, and not just to train and take in the atmosphere or anything like that, but to really go ahead and put my hand up for selection. That’s what I’m here to do at the World Cup, and it’s pretty special to be here.”
His father, Dr. Peet du Toit is a Maple Ridge physician and sports injury specialist, and is the chief medical officer for Rugby Canada. The du Toit family are immigrants from South Africa, so it must have been special for Guiseppe to play the Springboks in World Cup action.
Canada has gone winless in three games at the World Cup, and lost all four of its games at the 2015 tournament. So Canada’s last World Cup win was in 2011, against Romania.
The Canucks will have a chance to break their eight-game losing streak at the tournament on Sunday. They face Namibia, who have also lost three games, in their final game of pool play.