Boks snub did not influence Faf's decision to leave the Lions - Times LIVE
Tue May 23 07:04:55 SAST 2017

Boks snub did not influence Faf's decision to leave the Lions

Liam Del Carme | 2017-05-18 15:07:29.0
The Emirates Lions outgoing head coach Johan Ackermann is flanked by captain Warren Whitely (L) and scrumhalf Faf de Klerk (R) during a press conference at Emirates Airlines Park on May 18, 2017 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Image by: Sydney Seshibedi/Gallo Images

His exclusion from the Springbok training squad did not fuel his decision to take up contract in England‚ Lions scrumhalf Faf de Klerk explained on Thursday.

De Klerk‚ as expected‚ announced that he will join English Premiership side Sale Sharks at the completion of Super Rugby‚ but he isn't leaving with any grudges.

“I don't think not being in the camp had a big influence on my decision. That's SA Rugby's decision I didn't have any say in that‚” De Klerk said.

De Klerk with 11 caps‚ falls well short of the 30-Test threshold for foreign based players to be deemed eligible for the Boks‚ and he admits it got him thinking.

“That was a difficult one for me to consider before opting to go over. It is just a great opportunity for me at this stage of my career to go over. I can also come back and play and I won't be that old‚” he quipped.

Asked whether he had had discussions with Springbok coach Allister Coetzee‚ De Klerk said‚ "No" and when probed about the huge amount of money (reportedly R21 million over three years)‚ he was being offered De Klerk said: “Not that much.”

De Klerk's contract with the Lions only expires next year and there were attempts to try and delay his move north.

Speculation around his move has been dragging on for a few weeks and the player is relieved it is over.

“That's the decision I've made. I've put it behind me. I want to focus on Super Rugby and my goal is still to play my best rugby for the Lions... to give them everything. I'm glad it is sorted out now so that I can focus at the job at hand.”

De Klerk's high tempo‚ snappy game is well suited to the dry surfaces in the southern hemisphere‚ and you'd expect he'd take a while to settle in the mud lands of Manchester.

He contends‚ however‚ that Sale Sharks are trying to broaden their playing horizons.

“I will try and play my own style. I think they are also trying to get to the way we are playing here. They also want to play that expansive game.

"Obviously as a nine you are going to take more control and responsibility‚ especially with kicking and passing in the wet weather.

"Your basics as a nine will be very important. The same applies here‚ you have to be accurate. If you carry that over you should be fine.”

 - TMG Digital/TMG Sport

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