Du Preez reconsiders international retirement

Fourie du Preez says he feels like he has unfinished business with the Springboks.

In a 2011 interview the former Springbok and Bulls scrumhalf told SA Rugby magazine that the 2011 World Cup would be his last international assignment. However, with his mentor Heyneke Meyer being appointed Springbok coach and the disappointment of their quarter-final exit against Australia, Du Preez, who plays for Suntory Goliath in Japan, is reconsidering that decision.

‘When I originally decided to come over to Japan, I thought 2011 would be my target and that getting to the World Cup would be it,’ he told the International Rugby Board’s radio show, Total Rugby.

‘Losing to Australia might have changed that. Coming over has been a lot better than I thought and I’ve been able to get back into shape. Maybe that hunger is back again. It is still too early to say. I haven’t got around it in my head whether it will be good or bad for me. Never say never.’

Meyer is known to still rate the 29-year-old highly and has intimated that he would consider picking foreign-based players. Their would be concerns around the comparatively low standard of rugby in Japan, but Du Preez challenged those perceptions.

‘I see the top games here. It’s faster than what we’ve been used to. The guys are skillful and happy to learn. I’ve been really surprised. A lot of people think it’s easy rugby, but it’s been pretty tough. If you watch any top game the skill and structure levels are top-class. It’s been quite refreshing,’ he said.

Du Preez added that he has adjusted well to life in Tokyo. ‘At first you’re really scared. I’ve lived in Pretoria my whole life, so getting out of there would have taken a huge adjustment,’ he said.

‘It is something really different. As an international player you see the whole world except Asia. Japan is an awesome place. I’ve only been here four months but this has been a life-changing experience.’