Faf sets sights on next big dream

Star scrumhalf Faf de Klerk says it will be exciting to refocus on the prospect of the looming 2021 British & Irish Lions tour to South Africa, writes CRAIG LEWIS.

In the months since the World Cup final triumph, and during the lockdown period, time abounded reflect on that incredible achievement. Yet, the golden period to bask in that afterglow has also come and gone.

As it is, this past weekend a report suggested the Lions’ highly-anticipated tour of South Africa was set to go ahead as originally scheduled in July and August next year.

READ: Consensus as Lions tour to proceed as originally scheduled

It’s with this in mind that De Klerk casts an eye to the future, and the 2021 Lions tour to South Africa, which he discusses in an exclusive interview for the latest SA Rugby magazine.

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‘It’s definitely important to refocus a bit. For me, it was good to go back to [English club] Sale after the World Cup and reapply myself. You couldn’t just win a World Cup and go back to your club and then not keep performing. So I had to refocus and prove my value in that squad, and luckily the club has been performing.

‘Going forward, winning the World Cup is the ultimate goal as a player, but you need to set new goals. The first one is to get back on the pitch and start playing well consistently again after this break. Whoever gets the chance needs to build on what we achieved last year. And if I got the opportunity to play against the Lions, I would want to play well and be part of a successful tour. That would be another dream come true, because the opportunity doesn’t come around very often.’

Soon after the Boks’ World Cup triumph, De Klerk returned to Sale, but then picked up an unfortunate knee injury. Just after making his recovery and return to action, competition was then suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.

However, De Klerk said it was also a time that allowed for him to recuperate both mentally and physically after the taxing World Cup campaign.

Reflecting on that successful journey in Japan, the scrumhalf said it had been an incredible experience to return to South Africa for the trophy tour and see how much it had meant to everyone back home.

‘I think walking out at the airport when we got back, seeing all the people first of all was hard to believe it all. The trophy tour was amazing, and never in a million years could I have expected to many people coming out to see us, and it definitely hit home.

‘It was very tiring, but also a lot of fun, and we could see how much it meant to everyone. That was something special, and every day in a new city we just saw the reaction, and it was special.’

Photo: Gianluigi Guercia/AFP/Getty Images

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Craig Lewis