Former Springbok flyhalf André Pretorius is talent-scouting for Pukke at the U18 Craven Week in Paarl, writes THEO GARRUN.
Craven Week is the world’s greatest nursery for future international players, but not every Springbok played at the week.
Pretorius is a case in point. Speaking to SARugbymag.co.za at Paarl Boys’ High on Wednesday he explained that while he never made the Lions’ Craven Week team, he went on to win 31 Test caps.
The 39-year-old is at the week on behalf of North-West University’s Pukke rugby and is helping them identify potential bursary recipients.
‘I was at a small school, and I was very small as a schoolboy player so I never got selected for Craven Week,’ he said. ‘I guess I showed that you don’t need to play here to go further in the game, but I do believe that the boys who are here this week have a great advantage. They are getting expert coaching and are exposed to the pressure of playing at a level above schools, which is good for them.’
Pretorius has been blown away by the talent on display.
‘There are so many hidden diamonds, even at the Academy Week. We know that the well-known players from the big provinces have all been approached by universities and provinces before they come here, but there are still so many good players that we can’t afford not to be here.’
Pretorius is a coach of the Pukke Varsity Cup side and the Leopards provincial side.
‘We are here to find players who will fit in at the university. Our players are students first, so they need to be up to the academic standards, otherwise, they cannot play.’
It’s is Pretorius’ first time at Craven Week as a coach and he has been loving it.
‘To see so many talented players and so many high-class games has been great,’ he said.
Photo: Theo Garrun