Faf: Finishers vital for Boks in Buenos Aires

Set to play a different role than he is accustomed to for the Springboks against Argentina on Saturday, Faf de Klerk nevertheless takes pride in his job with the famed Bomb Squad. DYLAN JACK reports.

For so long the Springboks’ go-to starting scrumhalf, De Klerk will come off the bench for just the fifth time in his Test career when South Africa look to take a step closer to the Rugby Championship title against Argentina in Buenos Aires.

While an unusual role, the 30-year-old still sees the job as important, especially against a Los Pumas outfit that won’t go down without a fight in front of their home supporters.

“We know what our role is when we come from the bench. There is a lot said to us,” said De Klerk. “In my position, I will need to either speed up the game, or try to get a bit more of a controlling aspect. It depends where we are on the scoreboard and whether we are chasing or trying to build on a lead.

“That’s going to be really important this weekend, to make sure I read the game situation and go from there. If you are on the bench, you aren’t just an injury replacement anymore.

“There is a lot of responsibility on the guys who finish the game and that’s going to be massive this weekend against a team like Argentina.”

De Klerk is going through a tricky period in his Test career as youngster Jaden Hendrikse has put him under pressure at starting scrumhalf.

It has not helped that De Klerk suffered a concussion in the opening minute of the Test against the All Blacks in Mbombela.

“Especially after the concussion, it was a bit tough,” De Klerk explained. “It was a bit weird getting back as it was the first time in my career that I have been through that process. You really want to train every day and give yourself another opportunity to get selected, but then you are out of it.

“So, it is tricky. But we are here for a reason and when we get our chance, we need to use it. When you play for your country, you get one shot and you need to use that opportunity.”

The Bok coaches have listed De Klerk as a potential option at flyhalf, as the team is currently without both Handre Pollard and Elton Jantjies for the foreseeable future.

“Since school, I have played quite a lot at flyhalf. At U19 level, I played a bit there as well. At the Lions and at Sale Sharks in England, I had a couple of games there,” he said.

“So, I am really comfortable playing at flyhalf. Of course, Test rugby is another level. If the team needs me there, then that’s where I will play. I have no issues with that. I will have to train a bit more, but if push comes to have then I will take that opportunity.”

Photo: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

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