CARDIFF BLUES’ South Africa-born back-rower Andries Pretorius qualifies for Wales on residency this summer, but here are a few facts about him you probably don’t know…
1. He’s currently reading Jonny Wilkinson’s autobiography and says: “It sounds like he’s got a little bit of OCD.” He’s also a big fan of Bear Grylls’s “phenomenal book” Mud, Sweat and Tears.
2. He can play at blindside or No 8, but says: “I prefer eight because of the freedom it gives you. I like the responsibility that comes from playing eight and the opportunity to hang back and pick lines better.”
3. He’s good friends with Wales captain Sam Warburton and the pair’s work ethic is very similar. “I set really high standards for myself and even when it’s raining and miserable I want to do extras after training. I also like to watch games and see what other teams are doing well. Sam’s like that too; we’re constantly trying to improve and that’s why we get on.”
4. Born in Nelspruit, South Africa, Pretorius spent a lot of his youth in the local mountains camping and fishing with friends – and had some interesting adventures. They once came across a mountain lion and he says: “That was a tricky situation but I think it was more scared of us than we were of it.” The group also found a human jaw bone once and had to take the police to it.
5. His most embarrassing moment came when he left his MacBook outside for four days when he went on his stag do to Edinburgh only to come home and find that it had rained while he’d been away so the laptop was broken. “The boys thought that was funny,” he says.
6. His toughest opponent to date has been Harlequins openside flanker Maurie Fa’asavalu, who is “such a good ball-carrier and works really hard”, but next season he thinks he’ll have trouble with a more familiar face as Casey Laulala is leaving the Blues for Munster.
7. Pretorius is a qualified electrician in South Africa but can’t yet work in that field in the UK. He needs learn the different protocols in Britain and gain some work experience, which is something he’s looking into doing with the Welsh Rugby Players’ Association.
8. When asked about the funniest thing he’s every heard on the pitch, he recalls a story told to him by Allan Lewis, his coach at Hartpury College. “A ref once said to a prop, ‘You’re boring in at the scrum’ and the prop looked at him and said, ‘You’re not that entertaining yourself’!
9. He enjoys taking trips around Wales when he gets the chance and has been to Snowdonia and North Wales, although he is braver than many tourists. “If I’m driving along and see a lake, I jump in.”
10. While he’s keen to jump into lakes, he’s not so keen to give surfing a go in the northern hemisphere. He’d get on his board a lot in Durban, but the water’s too cold for him here!