Du Preez to Munster to learn
Bloemfontein – It would have been unwise to go and play overseas had he been the Springboks’ first-choice loosehead prop, but Wian du Preez is still young and may even return from Europe a stronger scrummager.
Du Preez, 27, will soon join Irish side Munster for a second stint and still hopes to play for the Boks in the future.
He played for Munster for two months after the Boks’ European tour at the end of last year before re-joining the Cheetahs before the Super 14.
Sport24 revealed on Tuesday that Du Preez would continue his career at Munster until the middle of 2012 and would not be available for Free State in this year’s Currie Cup.
Du Preez, who will join his new team on June 28, believes it would have been a different scenario had he headed the Springbok queue.
“It would be stupid to leave the country if you’re the Boks’ first choice. You also get older and it’s easier to go and play overseas now rather than just before your retirement. I’d love to play for the Boks again, but there is a lot of competition at prop,” he said.
Even though he has not played regularly for South Africa, Du Preez is one of the strongest scrummagers in the country.
He will be 29 when his contract with Munster expires, but believes he can return with valuable experience.
“I know it’s Peter de Villiers’s policy not to pick overseas players, but I can return in two years’ time with the experience I gained.”
South African props such as CJ van der Linde (Leinster), Brian Mujati (Northampton Saints), Eduard Coetzee (Biarritz), Daan Human (Toulouse) and BJ Botha (Ulster) are treasured assets in Europe because of their scrumming ability.
Du Preez says he’s looking forward to the new challenge.
“In Europe there is a lot of emphasis on scrumming because of the conditions and therefore more penalties are awarded in that area.”
He said his previous visit to Munster had made the move easier.
“The two months that my wife, Enelle, and I spent there made the decision easier. It remains a tough decision to leave the Free State, but it’s not as if we’re heading off into completely unknown territory.
“The Munster set-up is very professional. They went out of their way to make the move easy for us.”
While Du Preez will only consider his options in two years’ time, he’d like to play for Free State again.
“Free State is the only province I represented. I was very happy here and it would be nice to come and finish my career here.”