Pretorius ready to tap into O’Connor’s talent

Former Springboks flyhalf Andre Pretorius believes that he will learn as much from James O’Connor as the teen sensation will learn from him during the next Super 14 season.

Pretorius, a veteran of 31 Tests with South Africa, was lured to the Western Force as the franchise’s marquee international recruit to fill the gap that was left after Matt Giteau’s departure.

O’Connor, 19, is one of the world’s most exciting youngsters and has already established himself in the Wallabies’ set-up, impressing at fullback after making a name for himself at the Force at inside centre.

Pretorius, 30, is at the tail-end of his career and said he couldn’t wait to link up with O’Connor at the Force to start swapping ideas.

“Being as young as he is I’ve experienced a lot more on the field than he has, but I promise you he will have a couple of ideas that I will be writing down in a book as well,” Pretorius told the Brisbane Times.

“You’ve got a guy at 19 who’s a Wallaby already, how do you mentor him?

“For me it’s using what I’ve got to make him as good as he can be.

“Just the talent and exuberance he brings to the field and the spontaneous nature of being so young; it’s going to rub off on a 30-year-old that’s for sure.”

Force coach John Mitchell said that Pretorius’ experience at both international and domestic level would prove crucial to the Force’s chances of success in 2010.

“It’s not the benefits of that experience during good times, it’s the benefits of that during adversity and tough times,” Mitchell said.

“And this is a tough competition and you need real good mental strength and experienced players in key positions.”

Mitchell said Pretorius’ long kicking game would provide the Force with a crucial attacking weapon.

“The ELVs are no longer with us, we’ve got global law and in many ways Andre will suit global law,” he said.

“He’s got a very long kicking game and can dictate field position in that particular area.”

While O’Connor is yet to re-sign with the Force for the upcoming season, Mitchell said the Wallaby had committed to staying in Perth.

“Our Western Force component (of the contract) has been sorted for some time, what people don’t understand is that it’s the ARU (Australian Rugby Union) detail that needs to be sorted,” he said.

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