The last time the Isuzu Southern Kings took on the Toyota Cheetahs hooker, Jacques du Toit’s allegiance was to the Free State-based side, but things have changed over the past few months.
Now it is the Port Elizabeth-based Kings’ badge that he has tattooed on his heart.
There will be no split loyalties on Saturday when the Isuzu Southern Kings, Du Toit’s new home for the past four months, against the Cheetahs – his former home.
“It was a big decision moving from my hometown and family,” Du Toit remembered having to make the move from Bloemfontein, where he had spent most of his life, to the Eastern Cape.
“But, all in all, my wife and I have made it work – we love it in PE and I especially love playing it at the Kings. There is definitely something special that is brewing here, and it is so exciting to be a part of it.”
It is often an emotional affair when one squares up against their old team and former teammates, and it will be no different for the 26-year-old Bloemfontein-born hooker when the two teams clash at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in the first of three derbies for the 2019/20 Guinness PRO14 season.
“Derbies are always that much more physical and that much more intense. I remember my days at the Cheetahs when we played the Kings, it was always good fun and that much more harder playing on the day,” said Du Toit.
“I’m very excited. It’s always nice playing against old mates, and you always want to get one over them. I’m sure it will be quite a good battle.”
He goes by the moniker “Incredible Jacques”, and has certainly followed the name with his incredible contribution to the Isuzu Southern Kings since joining the side.
He hopes to continue contributing with the stellar performances he has produced so far this season by assisting the side to their second victory of the season and a first over the Cheetahs in the Guinness PRO14.
Du Toit and his teammates are quietly confident that the hard work they have put in over the past few weeks will pay dividends this weekend.
“We definitely give ourselves a chance to win this game,” he said with confidence.
“We have put in some good work in the build up to this game. We just need to stick to our plans and give a full effort for 80 minutes.
“We have quite a strong forwards pack. We bring out the best in each other, we work for each other. We will just need to finish the moments that we create and score some tries.
“Most of the guys are really excited to be playing at home again. With a home crowd and our families supporting us, we’ll give it our all to chase that win at home.
“We are targeting the next three games – the two against Cheetahs and our away game to Munster. We need to back the processes we have put in place and hard work we have put in since December. If we can get the victories out of these next few games, it will be a massive turning point for us this season.”
If there was a man in the Kings team that will know what to expect from the dangerous Cheetahs outfit, it is Du Toit.
“The Cheetahs will want to run the ball,” he revealed.
“They will want to back their outside backs to get them into space and then pick their holes from there. We’ll have to bring our A-game on the day to counter that.”