Pretorius gives Cats claws

Andre Pretorius will start for the Cats against the Reds in the Vodacom Super 14, the most welcome news Frans Ludeke has received since hearing that relegation has been scrapped.

Pretorius returns from a six month lay-off, and told keo.co.za that has ensured his comeback is not permature.

“My injury’s fine, I’ve worked very hard despite a few teething problems,” Pretorius said. “Certain muscles have been overcompensating for the injury so I’ve had a few niggles, but everything is sorted out now and I’m feeling very good.

“The rest I got from November through to January came at the right time as it was on the back of a very long season, but the last few months have been very difficult now that the guys are playing again. Overall though the rest has done my a world of good and I can’t wait to play in the Super 14.

Pretorius is honest when he assesses the Cats performances in the Vodacom Super 14, and acknowledges that the home ground advantage of Ellis Park will not automatically translate into victories.

“Inconsistency plagued our overseas tour. It was the first time a team has attempted a five week tour in the history of Super Rugby, but the guys knew that before they left. Why couldn’t we have toured like the Sharks? We have reason to be very disappointed in ourselves, and the guys returned with no excuses.

“Now we have to rectify the situation through our performances at home, but I don’t think that just is going to happen. If the Reds put it together, they can be a very dangerous side.”

Pretorius’ return means the Cats’ outside backs should feature more prominently than at any other stage in the competition.

Pretorius is not partnered, however, by Bok teammate Ricky Januarie at halfback. Januarie is being eased back from injury, and is one of four Boks on the bench.

CATS SIDE TO PLAY THE REDS

15. Conrad Jantjes
14. Wylie Human
13. Jaque Fourie
12. Wayne Julies
11. Grant Esterhuizen
10. Andre Pretorius
9. Jano Vermaak
8. Cobus Grobbelaar
7. Wikus van Heerden (c)
6. Gerhard Vosloo
5. Willem Stoltz
4. Gordon Gilfillan
3. Marius Hurter
2. Delarey du Preez
1. Pietman van Niekerk

SUBS

16. Lukas van Biljon
17. Lawrence Sephaka
18. Jannes Labuschagne
19. Ernst Joubert
20. Ricky Januarie
21. Doppies la Grange
22. Earl Rose

By Chris Hewitt