Boks coach Meyer hails ‘genius’ scrumhalf Du Preez
October 16 2015 12:02 AM
Fourie du Preez
Fourie du Preez

Reuters
London


The value of Fourie du Preez to South Africa should never be underestimated, says coach Heyneke Meyer, who said he was on his knees begging the player to make himself available for the Rugby World Cup.
Du Preez will captain the Springboks in Saturday’s quarter-final against Wales at Twickenham, the third choice for the armband after injuries to Jean de Villiers and Victor Matfield forced them out of action.
Yet he remains very much the number one scrumhalf in Meyer’s mind, with the coach admitting he went to some lengths to persuade 33-year-old to put his battered body on the line for one last tournament.
“This year he wasn’t sure about playing and I begged him to come back because I know he is the type of guy (that) if you have him in your team and he clicks, he is as valuable as Richie McCaw is for the All Blacks,” Meyer told reporters.
“He is such an astute rugby player. I have coached him since he was 19 and he is one of the most intelligent players I have ever seen, even from a young age. I know our game plan will work when he is involved.”
Despite Meyer’s unequivocal support, Du Preez’s place in the squad was in doubt until the last moment.
“He was worried when he did not get game time before the tournament,” Meyer said. “The plan was to let him play one or two games in Japan, but then he injured his knee and missed the Rugby Championship.
“He had doubts after that. I was on my knees and asked him to just train with the side. Right up until we left South Africa, he was not sure whether he would make it to the World Cup because he was struggling with a back injury.”
Du Preez did not start the shock 34-32 loss to Japan in South Africa’s opening game of the tournament, but since then the number nine has engineered a turnaround in the team’s fortunes.
“He has been a revelation around the team as a leader and he knows exactly what I want. He is a genius,” Meyer said.

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