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Unwanted Pretorius happy to wave goodbye to Waratahs

Changing of the guard ... Michael Hooper, fending off Dean Mumm, leaves the Brumbies for the Waratahs next season while Mumm is moving on.

Changing of the guard ... Michael Hooper, fending off Dean Mumm, leaves the Brumbies for the Waratahs next season while Mumm is moving on. Photo: Getty Images

SAREL PRETORIUS is delighted to be rid of the Waratahs and he is not afraid to say it.

After going from Super Rugby's top try-scorer to being left out of the side in the space of a season, Pretorius was tipped to stay in South Africa after playing the Currie Cup and re-sign with his old province the Cheetahs.

And while it was only officially announced yesterday that the Waratahs' marquee signing would not be returning to Moore Park, Pretorius has been making it known he is delighted to be out of Australia.

"I feel like my old self again and it's nice if the coaches back you," he told Bloemfontein newspaper Volksblad at the end of last month.

"The Waratahs play a lot with the forwards and the scrum-half only has to do the basic things well. Actually, he only needs to be a link between forwards and backs. At the Cheetahs the game plan suits me better."

After building considerable hype around their overseas recruit, it was clear before the season reached the halfway point that the Waratahs were struggling to fit Pretorius into their game and structures.

Brendan McKibbin was swapped into the starting halfback position on a number of occasions, leaving Pretorius on the bench, before Grayson Hart was ahead of both of them towards the end of the season.

Adding insult to injury, Pretorius suffered the indignity of reading in the media comments from Waratahs backs coach Scott Bowen about flaws in his passing game.

The Waratahs yesterday announced an injection of a host of NSW-raised players into their roster for next season.

Former Brumbies fullback Cam Crawford and former Sevens player Michael Hodge join Wallabies flanker and former Brumby Michael Hooper among the new faces recruited to the squad. Sydney University back Peter Betham, New Zealand-born halfback Hart and Tongan No. 8 Lopeti Timani have also been signed to the contracted senior squad.

Australian Sevens player Matt Lucas and Southern Districts second-rower Jed Holloway are also expected to sign with the Waratahs by the end of the month.

Crawford, Hodge and Betham replace departing backs Brackin Karauria-Henry, who will play in Japan, and Daniel Halangahu, who goes to Italy. The future of winger Atieli Pakalani is undecided.

Lucas and Hart will battle it out with McKibbin for the No. 9 jersey.

Hooper, whose standout season for the Brumbies under new coach Jake White this year earned a Wallabies call-up, will compete with new club captain Pat McCutcheon at breakaway. Jono Jenkins, who was called into the squad as injury cover this year, was left off the list of 28 players signed to the senior squad and Chris Alcock has joined the Western Force.

Rocky Elsom, Dean Mumm and Dan Vickerman have also left.

The Waratahs' most anticipated signing, their head coach, had not been finalised, a team spokeswoman said.

Interim head coach Alan Gaffney presided over the final make-up of the senior squad in the absence of former coach Michael Foley.

Waratahs' contracted senior squad to date: Adam Ashley-Cooper, Berrick Barnes, Peter Betham, Tom Carter, Cam Crawford, Dave Dennis, Kane Douglas, Damien Fitzpatrick, Bernard Foley, Grayson Hart, Michael Hodge, Michael Hooper, Rob Horne, Sekope Kepu, Tom Kingston, Pat McCutcheon, Brendan McKibbin, Drew Mitchell, Wycliff Palu, Greg Peterson, Tatafu Polota-Nau, Benn Robinson, Paddy Ryan, Jeremy Tilse, Lopeti Timani, Sitaleki Timani, Lachie Turner, John Ulugia.

HuffPost Australia

Rugby World Cup 2015

Round 1
Sat, 19 SepTimes shown AEST
ENG -1vs FJI -1 05:00Twic
TGA 0vs GEO 0 21:00Kholm
IRE 0vs CAN 0 23:30MilS
Sun, 20 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 0vs JPN 0 01:45Brig
FRA 0vs ITA 0 05:00Twic
SAM 0vs USA 0 21:00Brig
WAL 0vs URU 0 23:30MilS
Mon, 21 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 0vs ARG 0 01:45Wemb
Wed, 23 SepTimes shown AEST
SCO 0vs JPN 0 23:30Kholm
Thu, 24 SepTimes shown AEST
AUS 0vs FJI 0 01:45MilS
FRA 0vs ROM 0 05:00The Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
Fri, 25 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 0vs NAM 0 05:00The Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
Sat, 26 SepTimes shown AEST
ARG 0vs GEO 0 01:45Kholm
ITA 0vs CAN 0 23:30Ella
Sun, 27 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 0vs SAM 0 01:45Villa
ENG 0vs WAL 0 05:00Twic
AUS 0vs URU 0 21:00Villa
SCO 0vs USA 0 23:30Ella
Mon, 28 SepTimes shown AEST
IRE 0vs ROM 0 01:45Wemb
Wed, 30 SepTimes shown AEST
TGA 0vs NAM 0 01:45Sand
Fri, 02 OctTimes shown AEST
WAL 0vs FJI 0 01:45MilS
FRA 0vs CAN 0 05:00stadium:mk
Sat, 03 OctTimes shown AEST
NZL 0vs GEO 0 05:00MilS
SAM 0vs JPN 0 23:30stadium:mk
Sun, 04 OctTimes shown AEST
SAF 0vs SCO 0 01:45St James' Park
ENG 0vs AUS 0 06:00Twic
Mon, 05 OctTimes shown AEDT
ARG 0vs TGA 0 00:30KPS
IRE 0vs ITA 0 02:45The Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
Wed, 07 OctTimes shown AEDT
CAN 0vs ROM 0 02:45KPS
FJI 0vs URU 0 06:00stadium:mk
Thu, 08 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 0vs USA 0 02:45The Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
NAM 0vs GEO 0 06:00Sand
Sat, 10 OctTimes shown AEDT
NZL 0vs TGA 0 06:00St James' Park
Sun, 11 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAM 0vs SCO 0 00:30St James' Park
AUS 0vs WAL 0 02:45Twic
ENG 0vs URU 0 06:00Manch
ARG 0vs NAM 0 22:00KPS
Mon, 12 OctTimes shown AEDT
ITA 0vs ROM 0 00:30Sand
FRA 0vs IRE 0 02:45MilS
USA 0vs JPN 0 06:00Kholm
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Sun, 18 OctTimes shown AEDT
WinB 0vs RUpA 0 02:00Twic
WinC 0vs RUpD 0 06:00MilS
WinD 0vs RUpC 0 23:00MilS
Mon, 19 OctTimes shown AEDT
WinA 0vs RUpB 0 02:00Twic
Sun, 25 OctTimes shown AEDT
WQF1 0vs WQF2 0 02:00Twic
Mon, 26 OctTimes shown AEDT
WQF3 0vs WQF4 0 03:00Twic
Sat, 31 OctTimes shown AEDT
LSF1 0vs LSF2 0 07:00The Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
Sun, 01 NovTimes shown AEDT
WSF1 0vs WSF2 0 03:00Twic
View All Fixtures
Rugby World Cup 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
France 0 0 0 0 0 0
New Zealand 0 0 0 0 0 0
Canada 0 0 0 0 0 0
Tonga 0 0 0 0 0 0
Japan 0 0 0 0 0 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Romania 0 0 0 0 0 0
Argentina 0 0 0 0 0 0
England 0 0 0 0 0 0
Georgia 0 0 0 0 0 0
Scotland 0 0 0 0 0 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Australia 0 0 0 0 0 0
USA 0 0 0 0 0 0
Italy 0 0 0 0 0 0
Ireland 0 0 0 0 0 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Fiji 0 0 0 0 0 0
Samoa 0 0 0 0 0 0
Namibia 0 0 0 0 0 0
South Africa 0 0 0 0 0 0
Wales 0 0 0 0 0 0
View all
 

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