Former Springbok flyhalf Andre Pretorius says he is in his ‘dream position’ after being appointed as the new NWU head coach for the 2020 Varsity Cup. DYLAN JACK reports.
Pretorius replaced Jonathan Mokuena as head coach after last season, when the latter decided to move on to take his career to the next level.
It will be a step up for the former flyhalf, who started his coaching career with the NWU Sports Institute, coaching one of the university’s residences and the U21s.
‘It is quite funny how all of this happened,’ Pretorius details. ‘While I was still playing in France, Robert du Preez came over and he got me back to the Leopards. I ended up coaching the Patria in the Varsity Cup Residence competition. From there James Stofberg and Mervyn Taylor gave me the opportunity at the NWU Institute, to coach the U21s for two years.
‘Jonathan’s contract then came to an end and he was concerned about having to constantly make a commute away from his family. So that ended quite abruptly and being in the system, I think it was where I had a bit of an advantage over other candidates.’
Pretorius says he is looking forward to learning as much as possible from the Varsity Cup and isn’t looking too far ahead in terms of his own future.
‘To be honest, with where I am now, I may have just been given my dream position. To put it into perspective, if I had to go to an international job now, that job will give me more than what I could give that team. I have to work hard with this.
‘Plus, I have a senior campaign after this with the Leopards. It is our centenary year, so it is a big year there. They have given me a lot of responsibility on that side.
‘At the moment, I really want to focus on adding value to both systems, repaying the faith that was put in me. If you look at some coaches and players in the past, when they have focused too much on climbing the ladder, you kind of lose focus on what is at hand. I am in a really privileged position where I can be part of a lot of young guys’ futures, helping them with that step to the next level.’
Pretorius adds that NWU’s focus for this year is to make the Fanie du Toit Stadium a fortress, while trying to stay as consistent in their performances as possible.
‘We really want to do well in our home games, we want to make it tough for guys to play at the Fanie. Every team wants to make their home ground a fortress. We will see from there. If we can get a couple of good results early on and keep that consistency performance-wise, anything is possible.
‘There is one thing people need to understand in this competition. If you don’t do your homework, if you don’t prepare, you are going to get punished every Monday. Just in that fact, that you are forced to prepare well every single week. You don’t have anything easy. Your consistency of preparation will definitely help you prepare for your next step.’
Photo: Anton Geyser/Gallo Images