A milestone beckons for Faf de Klerk when the Springboks play against Scotland in Marseille in their opening game of the Rugby World Cup.
This will be the blonde scrumhalf’s 50th test for South Africa.
“It’s a big milestone for any player, but to celebrate it in the opening game of a World Cup makes it that much more special,” Jacques Nienaber said on Wednesday after the Springbok team was announced.
De Klerk made his international debut in 2016 against Ireland in Cape Town and, according to Nienaber, he has since established himself as one of the team’s key players.
“We are excited with him and of course we will throw everything into the fight to make it not only a special occasion for him, but also for the whole team.”
De Klerk is one of four scrum-halfs in the Boks’ World Cup squad, along with Cobus Reinach, Grant Williams and Jaden Hendrikse, but many of his opponents believe that he is among the very best players in this position.
Kieran Hardy, for example, sang his praises in the run-up to last year’s Wales tour.
“The way he dictates the game presents a unique challenge, but I think Faf de Klerk is one of the best scrum-halfs in world rugby and this is a great opportunity to compete against him,” said the Red Dragons’ number nine. said at the time.
According to former scrumhalf Conrad Breytenbach, the 31-year-old player certainly makes his presence felt behind the scrum.
The former Blue Bull player, who scored the opening try in the 1998 Currie Cup final against the WP, believes that any scrumhalf can pass the ball and do the job that is expected of him. But what about someone a special no. 9 make, are those extra things like putting pressure on the opposition flyhalf, cross defense and running good lines.
“Faf’s performance, apart from his normal duties as a scrum-half, is incredibly high during a game and it definitely makes him stand out above others,” Breytenbach told RNews.
At the same time, De Klerk’s bravery – he is not afraid of much bigger players – and his bull terrier attitude on the field are among his greatest strengths.
Yes, he came under criticism in 2019 for kicking the ball away too much in Japan, but RNews readers named him their favorite player of the tournament after South Africa’s successful World Cup campaign.
The Springboks play against Scotland on Sunday at 17:45 and the match will be broadcast live on SuperSport.
Springboks: Damian Willemse (full back), Kurt-Lee Arendse (right wing), Jesse Kriel (outside centre), Damian de Allende (inside centre), Cheslin Kolbe (left wing), Manie Libbok (fly-half), Faf de Klerk (scrum-half), Jasper Wiese (eighth ), Pieter-Steph du Toit (flank), Siya Kolisi (captain and flank), Franco Mostert (lock), Eben Etzebeth (lock), Frans Malherbe (prop), Malcolm Marx (hooker) and Steven Kitshoff (prop). Substitutes: Bongi Mbonambi, Ox Nche, Trevor Nyakane, RG Snyman, Marco van Staden, Duane Vermeulen, Grant Williams and Willie le Roux.