News24

Waratahs fast-track Pretorius

2011-11-05 09:24

Sydney - The Waratahs finished the 2011 Super Rugby season battered and bruised, but with the highest try-tally in the competition.

And with the addition of the competition's equal leading try-scorer, Sarel Pretorius, for 2012, the Waratahs have shown their hand early in their return to training this week.

The South African import and former Cheetahs scrumhalf arrived in Sydney last Friday and has spent only four days with his new team-mates, but has already made his intentions clear for 2012 by declaring he intends to run the ball.

''The last Super Rugby season at the Cheetahs we liked to throw the ball around, we liked running with the backs, and I see that at the Waratahs as well,'' Pretorius said.

''I enjoy South Africa and I was at the Cheetahs for three years and I think I needed a change, a new challenge in my life.

''I like watching the Waratahs play. I like their type of game, their running game. I thought it will be good for my rugby to come to the Waratahs to develop my game more.

''So to create for other players and have them run off (is what I'd like to do). I know Luke Burgess was a great attacker from the base and picking the right guys and I like that type of game plan.''

Burgess, who has signed for French Top 14 side Toulon, was a physical ball-runner who thrived on contact, but a significantly smaller Pretorius sees himself as more of a livewire around the ruck.

''I think (speed) is one of my strong points. The first 10 metres off the mark,'' he said.

''I just want to focus on my game, my strong points. I like attacking around the fringes and players running off me and creating for them so I think that's a big thing. And like I said, that first 10 metres, to explode. I want to keep on with that.''

Born in Bloemfontein and having started his love affair with rugby at age seven, Pretorius relocated to Gauteng to join Currie Cup side the Falcons after university and finished his third season at the Cheetahs this year.

He was part of the Springboks train-on squad for their World Cup campaign but missed the final 30-man squad. The 27-year-old has given up on any chance of fulfilling his childhood dream and wants to use his two years at the Waratahs to prove he is a world-class player.

''In South Africa, from when you are a little boy, you want to play for the Springboks. That's your ultimate dream,'' he said.

''But I think it wasn't meant to be for me. It just makes you a stronger person at the end of the day. I thought I had a good chance to be in the group. I went into the group of 51 but after that I didn't make it.

''At the end of the day, life must go on, so you must train harder and work harder.''

The former Sevens representative arrived in Australia with wife Nicola and said he is just as excited about the Waratahs' grunt up front as he is about the sunshine and beaches. He sent a clear message to a new-look forward pack that will be without veterans Phil Waugh and Al Baxter.

''The big thing for me in the past was that we struggled in the forwards (at the Cheetahs), so I would like to play behind a pack that's going forward all the time,'' said Pretorius.

Rugby Heaven

Comments
  • Steenbra - 2011-11-05 09:31

    And out come the tackle bags.. for Sarel

  • Johann - 2011-11-05 09:50

    Good luck Sarel, you'll do well there. I sure remember many joyous moments in the Cheetah jersey.

  • Wimpie - 2011-11-05 10:06

    Sterkte. Jammer om jou te verloor vir SA Rugby. Maar ek dink dis die regte besluit.

  • Bokfan - 2011-11-05 11:09

    A good man recognised!!. Pity our local selectors chose reputation over form when it mattered. One of the big failures of this WC campaign. All the best boet we'll be seeing you.

      Francois - 2011-11-05 20:27

      No the Bok selectors wanted a referee at scrumhalf, that is why they chose Du Preez. It was part of the campaign to counter the other big referee, McCaw. Then there was also the Capa Slavery brotherhood that kept Ricky there - thus more than one mountain to conquer for Sarel. Unfortunately he did it all on the rugby field.

  • Heinrich - 2011-11-05 13:10

    Sterkte Sarel. Die beste SA speler in super rugby 2010 maar hy is nie 'n springbok of SA speler nominasie nie. Jou onderhoud was ietsie wat moeders hul seuns laat rugby speel. Hoop jy gaan van krag tot krag.

  • Bigrp - 2011-11-05 18:09

    Excellent attacking player, but very weak defender...go and check the Super15's stats.

  • Gordon - 2011-11-05 21:43

    Brilliant move, their type of rugby will suit you more than the " skop,skiet,chase en donner" Bok-style.Stay and you will surely make the Aussie team.

      Kosie - 2011-11-08 11:49

      he won't because he'll have to be there for 4 years to qualify for residency, that will make him 33 years old, and that is a bit old for scrummy

  • Heiner - 2011-11-08 10:13

    The Sharks were fast asleep again! How can you lose such a talent to the Aussies of all places? Catch a wakeup Strauli! McCleod and Hoffman are nowhere near this fellow.

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