Vodacom Super Rugby
Super-Sarel 'the best'
Bloemfontein - Cheetahs scrumhalf Sarel Pretorius’ performance against the Blues is probably the best by a South African scrumhalf to date this year.
This is not the view of a supporter of the team or someone from inside the Cheetahs camp, but that of former Springbok scrumhalf Werner Swanepoel.
He said that "Super Sarel" had impressed with his high work-rate in the Cheetahs’ 22-29 defeat to the Blues in Whangarei at the weekend.
The former Bok believes Pretorius does a lot more than just breaking and scoring tries.
"Sarel didn’t just play well this weekend, but has been showing for the entire season what he’s made of. His performance against the Blues was probably the best by a No 9 from South Africa this year.
"When you consider that he’s playing in a team that's not doing well and lies at the bottom of the points table, it makes his performances all the more remarkable. It’s very difficult to stand out when your forwards are not on the front foot. Fortunately his pack did quite well against the Blues," said Swanepoel.
Just as was the case at the end of 2010, Pretorius is one of the Cheetahs’ standout players and he scored two tries against the Blues.
His performances are remarkable considering all the injuries the Cheetahs have.
Stars like flank Juan Smith (Achilles), flank Heinrich Brüssow (rib), centre Andries Strauss (groin) and hooker Adriaan Strauss (hand) are among the injured players.
Pretorius demonstrated his value in the Cheetahs’ recent 23-3 win over the Waratahs in the unfamiliar position of wing. He was a substitute for that match, but had to help out on the wing after Andries Strauss got injured. He scored a try and helped create the Cheetahs’ other try for Philip Snyman.
"People only tend to look at the amount of line breaks a player makes, but Sarel’s work-rate is (generally) high. He put in some important defensive work against the Blues when the Cheetahs needed it," said Swanepoel.
An example, according to Swanepoel, is when Pretorius almost knocked the ball out of Blues fullback Isaia Toeava’s hand when the Kiwi team scored their bonus-point try.
"Sarel has already made a name for himself last year, which prompted opponents to realise they have to keep a close watch on him. His team's at the bottom of the log, yet you may always write down his name as a stand-out player. He provides the spark that you need,” said Swanepoel.