Super Rugby Legends - Scrumming down with Fourie du Preez
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Super Rugby Legends - Scrumming down with Fourie du Preez

In this first in a series of five features, Trevor Cramer finds out that former Springbok and Bulls scrumhalf Fourie du Preez doesn't in the slightest miss the game in which he accomplished so much as he swiftly moved on to another chapter in his life.

Fourie du Preez rain
Photo: Gallo Images

Having made his Super Rugby debut in 2003 against the Brumbies, it was only a matter of time before Fourie du Preez would graduate to bigger things.

He was touted as a natural successor to the late Joost van der Westhuizen an no less than a year later made his Bok debut, going on to become part of a super generation of Bulls and Springbok rugby.

He has captured virtually every honour in his chosen sport -- the IRB under-21 World Cup (2002), three appearances in Currie Cup finals (2003, 2004 and 2009) three Super 14 titles (2007, 2009 and 2010), the Tri-Nations with the Boks during a golden era in 2004 and 2009, as well as being part of the 2007 Rugby World Cup-winning team.

 The 76-Test veteran, nephew of another Springbok great Frik du Preez, also stepped in as the Bok captain at the 2015 World Cup in the absence of Jean de Villiers.

 He has also been named SA Rugby Player of the Year twice by the South African Rugby Football Union (SARFU).


Fourie du Preez

But since he called time on his acclaimed career at the end of 2015, surprisingly Du Preez doesn't miss rugby one bit.

In fact he even admits to have lost his passion for the game since hanging up his boots, but hopes to possibly re-ignite the fire eventually.

If anything, he says, he just misses the close friendships forged in the game.

"The day when I quit I actually drew a line in the sand and entered a new life. Sure the memories will never leave me, but I very rarely look back," says Du Preez.

 "I reached a stage where it was time for family and finding my feet after rugby."

What strikes one immediately on a visit to Du Preez' s home in Pretoria is the glaring absence of rugby memorabilia, pictures or medals, but a good deal of family pictures and portraits.

Du Preez even admits that he is not entirely sure exactly what he has done with all his winners medals and other rugby awards.

Creating the ideal balance between family and career was always high on his priority list. Understandably then, the birth of his children cracks the nod as the biggest highlights of his life, way beyond any accolade  showered on him during his playing career.


Super Rugby champs Bulls
Photo: Gallo Images

Du Preez certainly knows what being number one means -- He was part of a Springbok era where the men in green and gold were the best in the world. Right now, the Boks have slumped to an all-time low of seventh -- and it hurts.

He also has some very interesting observations regarding what may be going wrong with Bulls rugby, he shares his adaptation secrets during a five-season spell with the Suntory Goliath club in Japan and his relationship with Eddie Jones, the architect of that shock 2015 defeat by Japan in the World Cup.

There is a prevalent school of thought that Super Rugby has lost its sparkle and SANZAAR has lost the plot. Du Preez also has some strong views to share on the current state of Super Rugby since evolving from its formative years as a 10-team competition to the present 18-team format.

He also has his own quick-fix solution to South Africa's current rugby woes and how we might break the New Zealand stranglehold on Super Rugby and the Rugby Championship.

One thing that always stood out about Du Preez -- he was the complete team man. It was never about personal accolades. He always put the team first.


Fourie du Preez Boks
Photo: Gallo Images

LISTEN to the full interview with Trevor Cramer here: The high’s, the low’s, the triumphs, the tribulations.


 

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