Time to end the pain

RYAN VREDE writes that Andre Pretorius must be honest with himself and retire.

On Tuesday Pretorius, 31, suffered the latest in a string of injuries, this time a chronic hamstring problem proving to be his undoing. Reports suggest it is not as severe as those that have kept him sidelined in the past, but Pretorius has never been a quick healer and won’t be this time.

It is utterly perplexing why teams continue to recruit him, despite his injury history being so well known. Pretorius has spent the bulk of his what should have been his prime being stuck back together in the hope he could somehow remain injury-free for an extended period and make a telling contribution to his team’s cause. That has never happened.

The Lions were patient beyond what was acceptable in his first stint there, before the Western Force somehow concluded it was a good idea to recruit a virtual cripple as their marquee signing for 2010. Pretorius snapped his hamstring off the bone in pre-season and spent three months in recovery while banking Australian dollars. As a result of the injury a pending move to Japan collapsed like his brittle muscle fibres.

Why the Sharks signed Pretorius latter that year remains a mystery, although I’d venture to suggest Rudolf Straeuli (who handles contracting) was the force behind his recruitment. I struggle to believe that an astute coach like John Plumtree would push for the acquisition of a liability whose ability doesn’t justify that gamble.

For the most part he remained fit while in Durban but played like a man restricted by the fear that his body could fail him at any moment. Herein lies the deeper problem with Pretorius, he may recover from injuries but his confidence has been irreparably fractured. No professional team must carry a player like that.

The Lions rekindled their love affair with Pretorius only to now be left heartbroken. The injury is likely to heal, but the Lions would do well to throw him a coach’s tracksuit thereafter, rather than another No 10 shirt.

Pretorius could and should make it easier on his current employers by admitting that he has nothing left to offer as a player, despite what his heart tells him.

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