Nippy South African scrumhalf and new Waratahs recruit Sarel Pretorius is salivating at the prospect of playing behind a pack littered with Wallaby stars in the Super Rugby competition next year.
Pretorius enjoyed an outstanding season with the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein earlier this year, finishing the competition as joint top try-scorer, and he is looking forward to even better times in Sydney next year.
The speedy halfback told AAP: "They've got a good base of forwards and I think that's the main thing that struck me.
"The last Super Rugby season, I won't say our (the Cheetahs) forwards were struggling, but I would like to play behind a pack that is going forward, so I'm looking forward to that."
Pretorius expressed his admiration for his predecessor at the Waratahs Luke Burgess, and revealed that he is keen to play a similar style to the Wallabies scrumhalf by taking defenders on with the ball in hand.
He said: "When I was looking at the Waratahs games, I followed a bit of Luke Burgess' game and liked his running from the base and players running off him.
"He was creating for other players and that's what I love and that's what I did at the Cheetahs as well, so hopefully I can fulfil that role."
The pocket dynamo explained that he will also be looking to use his searing pace to ensure that his side can capitalise on the opportunities that they manage to create.
"When someone cuts the line, I always want to be there for support, to be that link," Pretorius said. "I think my first ten metres off the mark is one of my strong points as well."
New Waratahs coach Michael Foley has got some important decisions to make regarding the make-up of the backline that Pretorius will service, and he revealed that versatile Wallaby star Adam Ashley-Cooper is likely to replace Kurtley Beale at fullback - a position he spent some time in during the World Cup.
"We've got some pretty handy centres there and we've also got some pretty good wingers, but I think Adam would probably fit in best for us at 15," he said.
The departure of Beale to the Melbourne Rebels left a fairly big hole at the back for the Waratahs as he was the star of their campaign last season, and with Tom Carter and Rob Horne in the midfield and Drew Mitchell and Lachie Turner out wide it would seem that Ashley-Cooper's experience would be best utilised at fullback.
Apart from Pretorius and Ashley-Cooper another new face in the Waratahs camp is former Wallabies skipper and hard working flank Rocky Elsom who will be viewed as one of the favourites to take the captaincy reins following the retirement of Phil Waugh.
The Waratahs are hopeful that big lock Dan Vickerman recovers well from his shoulder reconstruction that he underwent last week, but it looks likely that he will miss the start of the season.
Other players who are continuing their off-season rehabilitation include Wallabies Elsom, Drew Mitchell, Benn Robinson and Wycliff Palu.
Foley said that while Waugh's replacement as captain will not be named until next year it is not a major worry for him with so many senior players in the group.
He said: "I think Phil being such a wonderful captain in previous years there's probably been a tendency for guys within the squad to defer to him and may not necessarily embrace the full role they have in influencing things.
"We will announce a leadership group, but within our team there will be different roles given to each guy of what the expectation is in terms of their influence," explained Foley.
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