The list of players deemed “not quite good enough” to play in Durban, but just fine to run out in Lions colours, has grown a bit longer. Various sources report today that Andre Pretorius will again play for the Lions in 2011.
Pretorius, who has played most of his senior rugby for the Lions, left them to join the Western Force in Australia last year, before suffering just the latest in a string of crippling injuries when he pulled his hamstring before the start of the 2010 Super 14. He was released by the Perth outfit and managed to work his way back to fitness together with the dedicated Sharks medical team, before making a few appearances for the Sharks Currie Cup side late last year. The coaching staff (quite rightly) felt that he hadn’t really had the desired impact and with the influx of Jacques-Louis Potgieter, Meyer Bosman and Conrad Hoffman, all of whom can support Pat Lambie as flyhalf options, Pretorius was not offered a contract for the upcoming Super 15.
In an off-season raid that has seen the Lions fail to sign any big-name Sharks players (Beast Mtawarira being their most recent loss, although we’ll admit they came closer than we’d like), the cash-flush Joburgers have been only too keen to pounce on any cast-offs from the Sharks squad, including Pat Cilliers (third choice loosehead prop), Mike Rhodes (third choice blindside flank) and Rory Kockott (third choice scrumhalf). While they continue to crow in the press about the imminent signing of “big names” such as Butch James and Francois Steyn, it looks more like it’s players of the calibre of Pretorius who are the only ones prepared to make Johannesburg their home for the upcoming season.
One has to feel a little for one of the few truly gifted players in the current Lions set up, flyhalf Elton Jantjes, who will now have not one, but two of the worst possible tutors in the game when it comes to learning Big Match Temperament – Pretorius and the notoriously inconsistent Carlos Spencer.Tweet