Waratahs scrumhalf Sarel Pretorius has returned to South Africa to fulfil his Currie Cup commitments to the Cheetahs, which you may recall was part of the agreement he signed with the Sydney Super Rugby outfit, in a deal that saw him assume the mantel of their allotted “marquee foreign player”.
Things often don’t turn out exactly as intended, though and this appears to have been the case for “Super Sarel” too, who in just a few short months has managed to go from being South Africa’s Super Rugby player of the season, to third-choice at the Tahs and unable to crack a spot in the match 22 behind the unknown Grayson Hart. Such is the dramatic fall from grace that Waratahs back line coach Matt Bowen has even suggested Pretorius may not return at all next year.
The problem appears to stem from his passing game simply not being anywhere near the level that the Australians would expect of a professional scrum half. Ahead of last week’s game against the Reds, Bowen told Australia’s Herald Sun that the Tahs coaching staff were stunned to discover that, at 28 years of age, Pretorius had never received any coaching at all in the art of passing. They’ve apparently given him some drill to work on and are hoping that he’ll improve during the Currie Cup, but seem somewhat sceptical that they’ll be able to get him to the level they need him to be ahead of next year’s Super Rugby competition.
In the meantime, the Tahs have snapped up Matt Lucas from the Reds ahead of next year and there’s a real prospect that even should Pretorius return, he could fall even further back in a pecking order that also contains Brendan McKibbin. If the noises coming out of Sydney are to be correctly interpreted, though, it sounds as though they don’t want him back, although the decision to break his contract, it seems, will need to come from Pretorius itself.
Cheetahs coach Naka Drostske is expected to field Pretorius in a friendly game against Griquas as early as this weekend, but will need to decide whether to play him ahead of the talented Piet van Zyl when the Currie Cup proper kicks off.Tweet