Pretorius wants fairytale finish
Bloemfontein - Sarel Pretorius wants to
finish his time at the Cheetahs on a high note before his move to Welsh club
Newport Gwent Dragons.
The 30-year-old scrumhalf announced his
move to Europe earlier this season. While he’s looking forward to the new
chapter in his life, he stressed that he’s very much focussed on the current
job at hand - helping the Cheetahs secure a successful Super Rugby campaign.
Pretorius was part of the Cheetahs’ squad
that delivered their most successful Super Rugby campaign in 2013, which saw
them qualify for the wildcard playoffs before suffering a heart-breaking 15-13
loss to the Brumbies in Canberra (flyhalf Riaan Smit missed a last-minute
conversion from the touchline).
The Cheetahs had a disappointing 2014
tournament run, winning only four of their 16 fixtures to finish second last on
the overall log, but Pretorius believes they have the talent and game plan to
change their fortunes this season.
The Cheetahs proved this with a surprise
35-29 bonus-point victory over defending South African conference winners the
Sharks in Durban.
“That 2013 season was amazing and a
memorable campaign for everyone who was part of it. We want to reach those
heights again and qualify for the playoffs,” Pretorius told MyPlayers.co.za.
“That experience helped us. We don’t only know how to qualify for the playoffs,
but we know what it takes to win knockout games.
“It won’t be easy as there’s a long, long
season ahead. But if we stick to our game plan and play to our strengths, we
can achieve success.
“The win over the Sharks definitely gave us
the confidence. We had a bye last week, but we trained during that week. We
need to maintain focus and make sure we don’t lose momentum against the Blues
on Friday night.”
Speaking about his move to Newport Gwent
Dragons, Pretorius revealed that the deal emerged from his time with the
Barbarians last year.
“The club liked what they saw when I was
with the Barbarians, so I was happy when the deal came my way. It will be a
good challenge for me on and off the field, and an exciting move for my
family,” explained Pretorius.
“I know it will be a different type of game
up there, especially because of the conditions. I won’t be able to play the
attacking game, which I enjoy a lot, but it will help me develop another side
to my skills and ability. I was overseas before with the Waratahs in Australia,
but Europe will be a total different challenge.
“I also have some good contacts up there
when I make my move and I’m sure they will help me settle in. Fellow Saffas
Brok Harris and Ligtoring Landman are at the club, while Johan Goosen is in
France and there are a few other former Cheetahs team-mates in Wales.”
The Cheetahs tackle the Blues at the Free
State Stadium on Friday (19:10 kick-off).
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