Faf also at ease as flyhalf


There is of course a risk or two associated with a substitute bench loaded with forwards, but the versatility of the Springboks means that they can easily fill a teammate’s shoes if needed.

For example, Damian Willemse can play at full-back, center or fly-half, while Cobus Reinach can serve at scrum-half or on the wing.

In the same breath, Faf de Klerk is also at ease to take over the flyhalf duties, if it cannot be done otherwise.

The 31-year-old scrum-half is, together with Manie Libbok, the Springbok half-back pair for Saturday’s World Cup group match against Ireland in Saint-Denis.

“I don’t think anything will happen on the pitch, but I can make the move to flyhalf. I have played there before in my career and at school and I have been training with the group for some time to sharpen my skills in the position,” said De Klerk.

Libbok enjoyed an excellent match against Scotland in South Africa’s opening match of the tournament, but he struggled at times with set-piece work and De Klerk stepped up behind the kicker a few times.

“It only happened once and the team felt that I had to take over the duties. Manie also played incredible rugby and he was deservedly named the player of the match.”

“We just scored a try against the Scots and we simply told Manie to concentrate on his game. It’s not as if I will automatically take over the set-piece duties if he fails with a kick or two. We all know how well he can kick and we have full confidence in his ability; Manie will probably boast a 100% hit rate this weekend.”

According to De Klerk, the players in the Springbok group excite him.

“The guys are not only good rugby players, but also good people. In a World Cup it is important that everyone gets along well and that there are no internal issues in the group. If things stay like this, we will undoubtedly be as close a unit as in 2019.”