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Pretorius happy to be a Blue

Guinness PRO12 Editor

29 Mar 2011

Cardiff Blues flanker Andries Pretorius could have been playing at Twickenham in the Super 15 clash between the Sharks and Crusaders on Sunday.

But he is instead loving life with the Blues in the Magners League and ready to pledge his allegiance to Wales.

Pretorius was born in Durban and came through the Sharks youth set-up before leaving South African shores to study business at Hartpury College.

He was at the home of English rugby to watch his old teammates on the weekend.

But after establishing himself at the Blues this season, with 12 Magners League appearances to date, Pretorius is ready to throw in his lot with Wales when he qualifies on residency grounds next summer.

"I came up through the ranks at the Sharks and played in the U21 Currie Cup with the likes of Bismark Du Plessis, Tendai Mtawarira – the Beast and Ryan Kankowski," said Pretorius

"So things could have been very different for me. But I qualify for Wales next summer and need to set realistic goals.

"For now it's about further establishing myself in the Blues starting team, then when the time comes around I'll try to take that opportunity with Wales."

The dynamic flanker has received many plaudits for his performances this season, notably in the Blues' victory over the Ospreys on New Year's Eve. And the 24-year-old admits he couldn't ask for better teammates to learn from than the ones at Cardiff City Stadium.

"This season's been really pleasing for me. I'm grateful I've been given that opportunity and it's gone well," added Pretorius.

"We said four or five games ago that until the end of the season we have to chuck all our eggs in one basket and work really hard in the Magners League.

"It was disappointing to lose to Munster on the weekend and we have to treat every game like a final now.

"But the Blues is a great environment to be in. As a young player, you want to learn off the best and the old heads like Xavier Rush and Maama Molitika are the guys you want to be around.

"These guys have set the bar so high, and we have to match that and put pressure on them to make sure we're all playing at our best.

"At some point next year I will start thinking about Wales but for now it's just about playing well for the Blues."