De Klerk wants to go out on a high

03 August 2017 - 07:18
By Liam Del Carme
Faf de Klerk during a training session.
Image: Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images Faf de Klerk during a training session.

His job has changed slightly, but Faf de Klerk has warmed to the task of stepping off the bench and upping the ante.

Earlier this season he lost his starting spot to Ross Cronjé, as well as his place in the Springbok squad, but the departing Lions' scrumhalf has done everything but sulk in the corner.

He feels the lungs of the Crusaders, who the Lions meet in Saturday's Super Rugby final, will have to be exposed to the same blowtorch.

"In terms of how we approach them, we'll probably want to chase up the tempo. Get their lungs to work overtime," he said.

He believes the Hurricanes, whom they vanquished in the semifinals, and the Crusaders, are cut from the same cloth, but with differences.

"They have a similar attacking mindset, but the Crusaders will probably kick more," he said.

It is to his credit that De Klerk, who is set to join Sale Sharks in England after Super Rugby, has not retreated into obscurity.

"A lot of players have to go through it," he said about coming on as a substitute.

"For me the important thing is to have the same mindset, whether I start or come off the bench. "If you are 10 points behind or 10 ahead, you have to decide whether your team needs more energy, or more calm. You just have to be in the game."

The Lions needed some rearguard action in their quarterfinal match against the Sharks, beforekicking open the coffin against the Hurricanes in the semis.

"The Sharks game was perhaps a good thing. It did restore our fighting spirit."

De Klerk and coach Johan Ackermann will be involved in their last game for the Lions and the emotions have started to build.

"I'll definitely go out with the intention of enjoying my last game," De Klerk said.