Fourie du Preez insists he can add value to the Springboks’ World Cup campaign, writes CRAIG LEWIS in Durban.
Du Preez was the star performer during the Boks’ title-winning campaign at the 2007 tournament, but has only featured for the national team on eight occasions since plying his trade in Japan.
The veteran has been struggling with a knee injury and hasn’t been able to feature for the Boks this season, but he looks likely to be the man entrusted with the No 9 jersey at the World Cup after his inclusion in the 31-man squad named on Friday.
‘I’d love to be able to say, “Yes, I’m much better than I was in 2007 and 2011”, but to be honest, I’m probably not. Age does have an effect, and there have been some injury setbacks. But I think I’ve learned a lot over the last few years, and that I now make better decisions and can perhaps help the team a lot more in different ways than I could previously.’
Du Preez said he also felt he would be fit and ready by the time the Boks’ opening World Cup game rolled around on 19 September.
‘I can’t say I’m 100% confident [about my fitness], but I’m working towards that goal and still have two weeks of training to go [before the team departs for the World Cup]. It’s still a bit of a process for me to get to where I want to be, but I’m confident I’ll get there. I’ve worked really hard to get here.
‘My plan was to hopefully play in a couple of Rugby Championship games and play myself into the team, and although that couldn't happen in the end, I’ll continue to work very hard and hopefully I’ll still have the opportunity to get myself into the form I want to be,’ he added.
Photo: Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images