Faf de Klerk believes the Springboks will take great confidence from their improvements against the All Blacks in 2018, writes CRAIG LEWIS.
When SA Rugby magazine caught up with De Klerk for the latest issue, it was not long after he had been named as one of World Rugby’s Player of the Year nominees for 2018.
De Klerk’s effervescent performances proved to be a key contributing factor to the Springboks’ steady resurgence last year, with the England-based scrumhalf particularly impressing in the two Tests against the All Blacks.
The Boks first secured a famous win over New Zealand in Wellington in mid-September, and it was only a last-minute try that enabled the All Blacks to burgle a 32-30 victory in the return fixture at Loftus.
‘We were all just really up for that game [in Wellington], and no matter what happened in the game, we just stuck to what we needed to do,’ De Klerk reflects in SA Rugby magazine, where he was nominated as the Comeback Player of the Year.
‘We saw what it also meant for the people back home to get that result, and how it positively influenced the belief of our supporters. As a team, it was also a big moment to realise what we’re capable of and to see that we’re heading in the right direction.’
De Klerk also explained how they enforced a carefully-considered kicking strategy aimed at taking the All Blacks out of their comfort zone when the two teams met again in Pretoria.
‘We formed a really good plan against the All Blacks. While some might think you don’t want to give them the ball at all, we saw that New Zealand are not used to exiting from their 22, and always control that territory game. So we thought it could be an area to exploit because they don’t spend a lot of time doing that.’
– The full article is available in the latest SA Rugby magazine, on sale now.
Photo: Gianluigi Guercia/AFP/Getty Images