Arrows centre Guiseppe du Toit has only been in Japan for five days, and while his body clock is still getting used to the 16-hour time change between Victoria and Oita, he’s raring to give his all for the Canadian national team at the Rugby World Cup.
Six days ago, the 24-year-old was studying in the University of Victoria’s library when he received the all-important call from Canada’s coaching staff, notifying him that he was going to be on the next plane to Japan to join the national side.
“I was doing some studying at the library the evening after Canada’s first game, and I got the call around 9:30 p.m.,” said du Toit. “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.”
Du Toit’s call-up followed injuries to a pair of Canadians sustained in the match against Italy; Nick Blevins and Ben LeSage were forced to leave Canada’s squad, while the Arrows duo of du Toit and Theo Sauder were selected to join the group in Japan.
“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,” added du Toit. “That’s what I’m here to do at the World Cup, and it’s pretty special to be here.”
The Maple Ridge, B.C. native is one of nine Arrows now with the Canada’s national team at the World Cup, and has amassed 13 caps for Canada after making his debut for the national team against Chile in the 2017 Americas Rugby Championship.
“It’s pretty cool to be sharing the field with so many of my Arrows teammates, and to be doing it on this stage,” said du Toit. “The Arrows model is exactly what we’ve really needed in Canada. It’s this sort of professional environment where guys can come from playing pretty high-quality games in Major League Rugby and transition to playing the world’s best.”
Du Toit featured in 11 matches for the Arrows in the club’s inaugural MLR season. The centre ran for 546 ball-carry metres, completed 133 tackles with an impressive 92% completion rate, and picked up nine points – one try and two conversions.
“My goal is to honour the Canadian jersey, and to hopefully make Canadians proud of the performances we’re putting on out here,” added du Toit, speaking of what success will look like for him in Japan. “This means getting stuck in, getting real gritty, making the most of our opportunities and ensuring that we leave absolutely everything on the pitch.”
Du Toit has re-signed with the Arrows for the upcoming 2020 MLR season.
Toronto Arrows Founders Club ticket packages are still available, but only for a limited time – the deadline is Oct. 15, 2019. From there, 2020 season ticket prices will increase.
Header Photo: Mark David Janzen / Aedelhard