Vodacom Super Rugby
Pretorius back in the mix?
Johannesburg - André Pretorius is not just breathing down Elton Jantjies' neck, he is practically whispering in his ear.
Pretorius (32) played his first Super Rugby game in almost two years when he featured as a substitute for the Lions against the Bulls at the weekend.
He was lured back to Johannesburg with a one-year contract earlier this year and is there to share his experience with the Golden Lions Rugby Union’s young players.
“I hate the word mentor because that means your days as a player are numbered. I do work with the younger players - and I would love to make a contribution,” said Pretorius.
One of those young players is Jantjies, the promising Lions flyhalf who has been finding it difficult to cope against the Southern Hemisphere’s rugby giants.
Jantjies is predominantly mentored by Lions backline coach Carlos Spencer, but Pretorius also had wise words to share.
“I did not go and speak to him straight away when certain people pointed out that he was struggling. But I told him he should not do everything as if it’s a matter of life and death. It has happened to many players,” said Pretorius.
“You can catch and kick balls your entire life - and then suddenly you start thinking about it too much. That is when it becomes a matter of life and death. You then analyse things too much and it will become difficult.”
Pretorius’s calm at flyhalf for the Lions in the Vodacom Cup has meant a lot to the team in recent weeks.
He was picked as a substitute for last Saturday’s Super Rugby match and his form may well see him make their starting line-up.
The last time he was in the starting line-up was in 2009.
Pretorius then managed two drop goals, two penalties and three conversions in the Lions’ home defeat to the Waratahs.
The expanded tournament demands that teams have reserve strength and the chances therefore seem good that Pretorius can play for the Lions this year.
A week’s rest might do Jantjies the world of good - and Saturday’s match against the Reds may just be the right time.