23 Apr 14
This weekend the 16th Man takes to the seas and skies as the Red Army #InvadeMarseille for the Heineken Cup semi-final. Here's your guide to what's going on and how to get around Marseille.
"Yes I can't believe how quickly the time has passed, it's just come and gone like that. The experience here has blown my expectations away. It was brilliant, the weeks I was here and the games I was involved with. It was great to be here and involved with Munster Rugby." he said.
Warming to the topic he continues, "It's just the way you know, like the team spirit and the way the guys play for each other. And playing in Thomond Park Stadium. The spectators, the atmosphere, everything is just special. It was good, really good."
"It's quality rugby and you play week in week out against quality players and the results are close, and the games are close. The only
difference is the style you play is according to the weather.
" Back home the sun is always shining and you can run the ball. Here you've to train and the wind is blowing so you have to keep it close and adapt your style. It's the only difference, and as I said the quality was good."
Looking back on his five match tour, he points to the game in Stade Aime Giral as the highlight. "Yes definitely. I enjoyed the Perpignan game and beating them, it was a highlight for me. Perpignan were the French champions and beating them at their home and by such a result, ya that was one of the top wins of my career."
"The (Munster) team was just building itself up, everything fell into place. Every week we were improving and ya everything came together that day and we played really well."
Looking ahead to tomorrow and the visit of Northampton Saints, du Preez has no doubts that his final game will be a humdinger, "Ya, they had to win against Perpignan to stay in it just like Munster over Treviso. So I mean they're going to be ruthless and stuff like that, and Friday is going to be like a final for the side to go through to the quarter final. And it will be a tight final game."
And a huge incentive for him ? "Ya I'd really love to go away with the win, that would be the cherry on the cake for me if I could say that."
"Of course I will be sad to leave. I feel happy with what I did. Every game you want to prove yourself and then improve as a player so ya I'm glad I could fill in for Munster."
And now Munster are guaranteed a new recruit to their Red Army, "I'm going to follow them on TV and I'm going to back Munster and hopefully they can play in the final. And I will be there having a BBQ with my friends cheering for Munster. I'll put some money on them!"
And have we seen the last of Wian du Preez ? He smiles and says, " I would love to come back if the opportunity arises. I really enjoyed my stint here. My wife and me were very happy here and everyone looked after us really well, and with the guys and the set up here, everything was brilliant."
"Playing for Munster you have a special bond and the team spirit here is really special. It's like a brother bond you've got here. Paul O'Connell, he's a brilliant leader, player, person. I've created huge respect for him.
"Then y'know, there is the crowd. " he says and his eyes light up." The people are crazy about Munster and that lifts you when you're tired or when you've got to go around and ruck again, it just motivates you.
"Ya, luckily it all went well and it was good. I'm looking forward to the game tomorrow. A big game for both sides and no doubt a good game to watch."