Saffas Abroad: Faf hits form for Sale Sharks

Springbok scrumhalf Faf de Klerk played a starring role as the Sale Sharks narrowly beat Gloucester despite being reduced to 14 men in round 16 of the Premiership this past weekend.

De Klerk scored a try and provided a try assist to help Sale claim a 25-22 victory over Gloucester after the Sharks led 12-8 at half time. It took just eight minutes for De Klerk to score his try as he ran an excellent support line after flyhalf Robert du Preez made a linebreak. However, the oldest Du Preez brother was then red-carded for a dangerous tip tackle on Gloucester prop Val Rapava-Ruskin, during which the loosehead fell on his head, leaving the referee with no option.

De Klerk also picked up a second-half assist, as his bullet-pass found Marland Yarde, who stepped past a couple of tacklers to score and put Sale in a 22-8 lead. It will be pleasing for the Springbok coaching staff that De Klerk has started to hit form at this time, with the British & Irish Lions tour on the horizon.

Also impressive for Sale was inside centre Rohan Janse van Rensburg, who in 61 minutes made 12 carries for 63 metres, seven tackles and beat two defenders, while No 8 Daniel du Preez was solid at the back of the scrum, making 42m from 12 carries, seven tackles and winning 10 lineouts. Du Preez was up against Ruan Ackermann, who started at No 8 for Gloucester.

Another in-form South African having a go at the Springbok squad, Andre Esterhuizen, continues to fire with Harlequins, who hammered the Worcester Warriors 50-26 on Saturday.

Esterhuizen scored one of Harlequins’ eight tries and made 11 carries for 71m, beating three defenders and making three clean breaks in another dominant outing. Also dotting down for Harlequins was Bok tighthead Wilco Louw, who made seven carries and six tackles in 60 minutes.

Meanwhile, Jacques Vermeulen played at openside flank for the Exeter Chiefs, who bounced back from their European exit by beating Wasps 43-13, while Jasper Wiese was good in a losing cause for the Leicester Tigers, who were beaten by Bath.

Photo: Getty Images

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Dylan Jack