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Warriors recruit Andries Pretorius from Cardiff Blues
SOUTH Africa-born Wales international back-rower Andries Pretorius has signed for Worcester Warriors from Cardiff Blues for next season.
The capture represents an impressive piece of business by the bottom-of-the-table Sixways side and it is believed the 28-year-old does not have a relegation release clause written into his contract.
Pretorius, who captained the south Wales RaboDirect Pro12 side for the 2012-13 season, operates primarily as a number eight, but can also play on the blindside flank.
Warriors director of rugby Dean Ryan worked with the former Gloucester academy player when the duo were both at Kingsholm.
Ryan said: “I am delighted that Andries has chosen to join the club as we build for the future to become a competitive force in the Aviva Premiership.
“We have seen two of our top players extend their contracts last month (Chris Pennell and Alex Grove), which demonstrates that current players and those we are seeking to bring to the club buy into our vision of building for the long term. Andries has a proven track record so we look forward to welcoming him to Sixways in the summer.”
The announcement demonstrates another statement of the club’s intent as they aim to build a side to compete in the upper echelons of the Premiership.
Pretorius, who was born and bred in South Africa, moved to the UK in 2006 to study business at Hartpury College in Gloucestershire.
Having skippered Hartpury and represented England students, he then linked up with Gloucester’s academy before making the move to Cardiff.
Pretorius said: “I have loved my time at Cardiff Blues and it has been an honour to play for and captain such a great team.
“I will continue to give Cardiff 100 per cent until the end of the season. My focus will then turn to Worcester.
“I have known Dean and Carl Hogg (head coach) from my days at Hartpury and Gloucester. They are top-quality coaches who want to take Worcester to the top of English rugby.
“Dean really impressed me with his long-term vision for the club and I very much look forward to working with the coaching team to achieve their goals.”
In 2011, Pretorius was awarded players’ player of the year and he won the first of his two caps for Wales during the 2013 summer tour to Japan.
Warriors chief executive Charles Cameron added: “Andries’ signing is evidence of the development taking place at the club and shows we are moving in the right direction.”
Meanwhile, Warriors youngster Harry Casson has joined Leeds Carnegie on loan until the end of the season.
Originally from Bristol, the 22-year-old joined Gloucester’s academy while studying at Hartpury College, making one senior appearance for the Kingsholm club before going to university. After graduating, he joined Warriors and has been on loan at Coventry and Cinderford.