The Western Force have snapped up Andre Pretorius as their marquee signing for the 2010 Super 14 season.
Pretorius, who has 31 Test caps to his name and was part of the 2007 World Cup winning Springbok side, has been brought in as a replacement for Matt Giteau who signed for the Brumbies for next season.
‘This was one of the biggest decisions I have had to make in my professional career,’ said the 30-year-old. ‘My loyalty has always been with the Lions and the 11 years I spent here have been tremendous and they assisted me in becoming a Springbok, that’s what made this decision difficult.
‘I am excited about the opportunity to play for the Force. I believe that their structures and the type of coaching can get me to perform at my optimal best.
‘I will be surrounded by great players which makes it easy to focus only on what you have to do.
‘Having experience is one thing, using it to your advantage is another and that’s where I think the coach [John Mitchell] will play a big role.’
Force rugby manager Mitch Hardy said Pretorius would bring some vital experience to the Perth-based franchise.
‘Andre has a complete range of skills but he also possess a lot of leadership qualities and is highly regarded in South African rugby for the quality of person he is off the field,’ Hardy said.
‘He’s a game breaker with significant international experience and he can control a game, which is exactly what we were looking for in a number 10.’