Return of the king

Fourie du Preez will be the Boks’ key player this year as they seek to defend the World Cup.

In his most revealing interview yet, Du Preez talks to SA Rugby magazine about why the Springboks struggled in 2010, his big-match temperament, who should replace him as Bok scrumhalf when he retires from international rugby, why he wants to play in Japan, and who he thinks should be the next Bok coach.

We also speak to Heyneke Meyer and Bryan Habana about what makes Du Preez the best scrumhalf in the world.

‘If he doesn’t play the Boks are in serious trouble and the Bulls wouldn’t be the side they have been in the past couple of years, says Meyer. ‘People point out that he is integral to their game plan, which is true. There isn’t a better box-kicking scrumhalf in world rugby. But that doesn’t take into account his full value.

‘As the link between the forwards and the backs he is the most influential player on the park. Your decision-making has to be so sharp there, especially at international level where space and time are at a premium. No player can match his decision-making under pressure.’

Also in the new issue, on sale this week:

Bryan Habana needs creative players around him if he’s to start scoring tries at Test level again

Francois Louw refuses to believe that his World Cup dream is over

– Local businessman Robert Gumede on why he’s invested in the Lions, transforming the game, and the players he’d like to bring to Joburg

Stirling Mortlock on what the Rebels hope to achieve in their debut Super Rugby season, why Danny Cipriani will excel, and his desire to get back into the Wallabies squad

– Alcohol addiction and excessive partying cost kiwi referee Steve Walsh his job in 2008. SA Rugby magazine finds out how he turned his life around

JP Pietersen is confident he can regain the form that made him one of the world’s best wingers in 2007

– While the Test nations up north are coming to terms with the new law interpretations, the club structures and mentality will forever contrast the philosophy down south

– It’s been just over a year since Gareth Thomas became the first openly gay professional rugby player. In this candid interview, the former Wales captain talks about his new life, changing perceptions, and being portrayed by Mickey Rourke in an upcoming Hollywood movie

– The Olympic Games will transform sevens rugby

Referees must stop interpreting the laws and start applying them consistently

– The three Pacific Island rugby nations will never be able to compete with the world’s best

Jacques Cronjé on his World Cup snub, maturing, and going head-to-head with Sébastien Chabal at Racing Métro

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