JP Du Preez desperate to become biggest Scotland player since 7ft Richard Metcalfe

JP Du Preez desperate to become biggest Scotland player since 7ft Richard Metcalfe
JP Du Preez desperate to become biggest Scotland player since 7ft Richard Metcalfe

JP Du Preez wants to be the biggest player to represent Scotland since 7ft Richard Metcalfe became the tallest international player ever at the turn of the century.

At 6 ft 10½ ins, the South Africa second-row is just short of the record, but is believed to be the biggest player involved in professional rugby at the moment

And after moving from Sale Sharks to join Glasgow Warriors this summer, he plans to pass the five-year residency requirement in order to eventually pull on the dark blue jersey with a thistle on its chest.

“It’s any rugby player’s dream to play internationally, so I wouldn’t mind playing for Scotland,” said the 27-year-old. “Unfortunately, I didn’t strike lucky with a Scottish granny, so I need to do the residency stuff.”

In truth, Du Preez’s chances of making it as a Scotland player are remote. By the time he qualifies he will be 32, which is a ripe old age to be winning your first cap, especially as a so-called project player who would effectively be blocking the progress of up-and-coming talent.

Fortunately, the prospect of international rugby was not the chief driving force behind his decision to join Warriors.

“I’m doing this for my son, Izak, who is eight-months old, to give him the best opportunity as a young child, especially with what’s happening back in South Africa with all the crime and all that stuff,” he explained.

“Glasgow is a great place to be. Good people, good fans – everything is very good.

Du Preez added that he is enjoying working under his former Cheetahs coach Franco Smith, who took over the reins during the summer following the sacking of Danny Wilson.

“I wasn’t too concerned when Danny moved on despite the fact he was the coach who brought me here,” he explained. “I’ve been in that situation before, so I know how it works and I was just ready to impress whoever took over the team.

“Then, when I found it was going to be Franco, I was quite happy because I know what type of structure he wants to play and what he wants to get out of the game.

“I played under him for quite a while at the Cheetahs back in Bloemfontein.”

Smith has wasted little time in establishing a reputation as a tough task-master but du Preez says he enjoys that no-nonsense type of environment.

“Maybe it’s because I’m used to it and that’s just the type of people we are. I wouldn’t say we’re tough, but we know we want to get stuff done in a certain way.

“Franco is very clear about how he wants to play, what type of areas he wants us to play in, and what our focus is for the weekend. The communication between him and the players is very good.”

Du Preez has come off the bench twice so far this season, against Cradiff and Ospreys. He is hoping to be involved again when the Bulls visit Scotstoun on Saturday evening.