Bloemfontein – Sarel Pretorius will soon have to make the toughest decision of his rugby career.
With some of New Zealand and Australia’s leading sides showing interest in his services – something that could potentially open the door for him to play Test rugby for the All Blacks or Wallabies in the future – the scrumhalf has to weigh his Springbok dream against possible greater fame overseas.
His agent Stephan Weyers confirmed that the contract of the 27-year-old Griquas and the Cheetahs scrumhalf expires at the end of the season.
He therefore has to decide whether he will remain in South Africa in the hope of playing Test rugby one day or if he will head overseas to possibly play for another country after completing three years of residency.
As soon as his contract expires, he will also no longer be available for the Cheetahs, who play the Hurricanes at the Free State Stadium on Saturday.
“I can confirm that seven teams have enquired after Sarel’s future plans. That includes enquiries from New Zealand, Australia and France. He has a tough decision to make after 1 July,” said Weyers.
The agent did not want to say which overseas teams were interested in the player’s services, but Sport24 understands that two of the teams are among the top five teams on the latest Super Rugby log.
Pretorius will have to think about whether he will ever wear the Springbok jersey while he has to compete with Fourie du Preez, Francois Hougaard and Ruan Pienaar for the two scrumhalf spots in the Springbok match-day 22.
He is one of the form South African scrumhalves in Super Rugby and therefore it’s no surprise that there is interest from New Zealand and Australia.
Former Springbok scrumhalf Werner Swanepoel recently said that Pretorius is the most attacking South African scrumhalf.
He was even named man of the match after his team was beaten 45-6 by the Crusaders in Christchurch last year, and also named man of the match in three of the Cheetahs’ last four games in their 2010 campaign.
This year he has continued his good form and the Waratahs gained first-hand knowledge of the mobile gamebreaker when the Cheetahs recently beat them 23-3.
Another factor that may lead Pretorius to continuing his career overseas is that his salary could then be on a par with that of Springbok players in South Africa.
It’s unlikely though that Cheetahs coach Naka Drotské and the Griquas coach Abré Minnie will sit with their arms folded. They are likely to pull out all the stops to keep Pretorius at the Cheetahs.