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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 35vs FJI 11 Report Stats
TGA 10vs GEO 17 Report Stats
IRE 50vs CAN 7 Report Stats
Sun, 20 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 32vs JPN 34 Report Stats
FRA 32vs ITA 10 Report Stats
SAM 25vs USA 16 Report Stats
WAL 54vs URU 9 Report Stats
Mon, 21 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 26vs ARG 16 Report Stats
Wed, 23 SepTimes shown AEST
SCO 45vs JPN 10 Report Stats
Thu, 24 SepTimes shown AEST
AUS 28vs FJI 13 Report Stats
FRA 38vs ROM 11 Report Stats
Fri, 25 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 58vs NAM 14 Report Stats
Sat, 26 SepTimes shown AEST
ARG 54vs GEO 9 Report Stats
ITA 23vs CAN 18 Report Stats
Sun, 27 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 46vs SAM 6 Report Stats
ENG 25vs WAL 28 Report Stats
AUS 65vs URU 3 Report Stats
SCO 39vs USA 16 Report Stats
Mon, 28 SepTimes shown AEST
IRE 44vs ROM 10 Report Stats
Wed, 30 SepTimes shown AEST
TGA 35vs NAM 21 Report Stats
Fri, 02 OctTimes shown AEST
WAL 23vs FJI 13 Report Stats
FRA 41vs CAN 18 Report Stats
Sat, 03 OctTimes shown AEST
NZL 43vs GEO 10 Report Stats
SAM 5vs JPN 26 Report Stats
Sun, 04 OctTimes shown AEST
SAF 34vs SCO 16 Report Stats
ENG 13vs AUS 33 Report Stats
Mon, 05 OctTimes shown AEDT
ARG 45vs TGA 16 Report Stats
IRE 16vs ITA 9 Report Stats
Wed, 07 OctTimes shown AEDT
CAN 15vs ROM 17 Report Stats
FJI 47vs URU 15 Report Stats
Thu, 08 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 64vs USA 0 Report Stats
NAM 16vs GEO 17 Stats
Sat, 10 OctTimes shown AEDT
NZL 47vs TGA 9 Report Stats
Sun, 11 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAM 33vs SCO 36 Report Stats
AUS 15vs WAL 6 Report Stats
ENG 60vs URU 3 Stats
ARG 64vs NAM 19 Report Stats
Mon, 12 OctTimes shown AEDT
ITA 32vs ROM 22 Report Stats
FRA 9vs IRE 24 Report Stats
USA 18vs JPN 28 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Sun, 18 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 23vs WAL 19 Stats
NZL 62vs FRA 13 Report Stats
IRE 20vs ARG 43 Report Stats
Mon, 19 OctTimes shown AEDT
AUS 35vs SCO 34 Stats
Sun, 25 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 18vs NZL 20 Stats
Mon, 26 OctTimes shown AEDT
ARG 15vs AUS 29 Stats
Sat, 31 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 24vs ARG 13 Stats
Sun, 01 NovTimes shown AEDT
NZL 34vs AUS 17 Stats
View All Fixtures
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Australia 4 4 0 0 106 17
Wales 4 3 1 0 49 13
England 4 2 2 0 58 11
Fiji 4 1 3 0 -17 5
Uruguay 4 0 4 0 -196 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
South Africa 4 3 1 0 120 16
Scotland 4 3 1 0 43 14
Japan 4 3 1 0 -2 12
Samoa 4 1 3 0 -55 6
USA 4 0 4 0 -106 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
New Zealand 4 4 0 0 125 19
Argentina 4 3 1 0 109 15
Georgia 4 2 2 0 -70 8
Tonga 4 1 3 0 -60 6
Namibia 4 0 4 0 -104 1
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Ireland 4 4 0 0 99 18
France 4 3 1 0 57 14
Italy 4 2 2 0 -14 10
Romania 4 1 3 0 -69 4
Canada 4 0 4 0 -73 2
View all

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