Springbok scrum-half Fourie du Preez is committed to seeing out his contract with his Japanese club but still wants to play for his country
Du Preez joined Suntory Sungoliath following the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand in 2011, and helped the club to win the Japanese championship recently.
Following Heyneke Meyer’s announcement as new Springbok coach, media speculation has intensified that Du Preez will return to his native South Africa to play in the June Test Series against England.
Suntory Sungoliath has indicated they would not stand in Du Preez’s way should he wish to return to South Africa to play for the Springboks
Former Suntory boss and current Japan coach Eddie Jones believes Du Preez can still be a force at Test level.
“I know that if Heyneke needs him, he will find his support invaluable and we at Suntory have no intention of standing in the way of Fourie assisting his national coach during the forthcoming series,” he said.
Du Preez said it would be an honour to play for the Springboks again if his services are needed in a crisis and that he would be happy to work with the younger players as a mentor.
“I believe South African-based players should receive preference in the national set-up,” he explained.
“I will always be available to play for the Springboks, but I’m well aware that we have a wealth of talented scrum-halves in South Africa, particularly someone like Francois Hougaard, whose time has now come to establish himself as the number one scrum-half.
“It’s time for the next generation to step up, but I’d be happy to help if the coach calls on me.
“I have been extremely blessed to have played during an era which saw the Springboks win the Rugby World Cup (2007), two Tri-Nations tournaments (2004 and 2009) and beat the British & Irish Lions (2009).
“Furthermore I have won the Super 14 title and the Currie Cup with the Bulls on three occasions each, and I was fortunate enough to play for the Baby Boks when we won the U21 World Cup in 2002,” he added.
“I’d be happy to share my experience with the next generation of South African rugby talent and I would like to thank Suntory for granting permission to do so.
“That said, my contract with Suntory ends in March 2013 and I intend to show the club the same commitment I did to the Bulls and the Boks throughout my career.”