Du Preez keen to end 2016 on a high

Date published: September 14 2016

Western Province fly-half Robert du Preez is keen to finish 2016 on a high after experiencing his fair share of ups and downs this year.

Du Preez started the season on a high when he scored 23 points for the Stormers in a 33-9 victory over the Bulls in their Super Rugby opener at Newlands. 

Things went pear-shaped in the Stormers' next match against the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein, however, as the 23-year-old suffered a knee injury which would keep him on the sidelines for the bulk of the men from the Cape's campaign.

Du Preez returned to action in the Stormers' 60-21 defeat to the Chiefs in Super Rugby's play-offs and although he wore the number 10 jersey for Western Province at the start of the Currie Cup season, he was soon dropped from their starting line-up.

His replacement Brandon Thomson didn't grab his chance and WP head coach eventually recalled Du Preez.

"It's never nice being, let's say 'dropped'," Du Preez told Sport24.

"When I came back I wanted to take that opportunity and just stay there. I want to do everything in my power to keep that from happening again, because it's not the best feeling in the world.

"I think I'm slowly getting back into the space I was in at the beginning of the year. It wasn't easy playing those first two games and building on some momentum and then that injury came."

The 23-year-old delivered a superb showing in WP's 34-27 win over the Sharks at Newlands two weeks ago and was named man of the match in that clash.

In their next match, WP battled, however, and suffered a humiliating 58-32 defeat to the Golden Lions in Johannesburg. That result means they are battling to qualify for the semi-finals now and Saturday's clash against Pumas at Newlands is a must-win fixture for Dobson's charges.

"We're staying positive, although our backs are to the wall," added Du Preez.

"We were hurt after the weekend, obviously, and we came here yesterday with the mindset to fix it.

"If anyone saw our training yesterday … the boys were up for it. It was one of the better training sessions of the year. It's positive."